49. Main provisions with regard to production of documents. The main provisions of the Code with regard to the production of documents by the parties are as follows: -
(a) According to Order VII, Rule 14, when the plaintiff sues upon a document in his possession of power, he shall produce it in Court when the plaint is presented and deliver the documents itself or a copy thereof to be filed with the plaint. If he relies on any other documents, whether in his possession or power or not, as evidence in support of his case he shall enter such documents in a list to be annexed to the plaint. If the documents are not so produced or entered in the list, they cannot be proved at a later stage without the leave of the Court, unless they fall within the exception given in sub-rule 2 of Rule 18 of Order VII.
(b) Order VIII, Rule 1 (as amended by the High Court), similarly required the defendant to produce with his written statement any documents upon which his defence or claim to set-off is founded. The defendant must also annex to the written statement a list of all documents on which he intends to rely ---- whether in his possession or power or not in support of his defence or claim to set-off.
(c) Order XIII, Rule 1, lays down that the parties shall produce at the first hearing of the suit documentary evidence of every description in their possession or power on which they intend to rely, and which has not been already filed, in Court and all documents which the Court has ordered to be produced. If the documents are not so produced at the first hearing they cannot be produced at the later stage unless good cause is shown to the satisfaction of the Court.
50. List of documents must be filed. Whenever any documents are produced by the parties in the Course of a suit, whether with the plaint or written statement, or at a later stage, they must always be accompanied by a list in the form given below. In column 3, the Court should note the manner, in which the document was dealt with, i.e., whether it was admitted in evidence or rejected and returned to the party concerned, or impounded, as the case may be.
List of documents produced by plaintiff/defendant under Order XIII, Rule 1, C.P.C.
IN THE COURT OF AT DISTRICT.
SUIT TO ………………………………… of 19
List of documents produced with the plaint (or at first hearing) on behalf of plaintiff (or defendant).
if any, of the
|What the document is intended to prove
|If brought on the record, the exhibit mark put on the document
|If rejected, date or return to party, and signature of party or pleader to whom the document was returned
Signature of party or pleader producing the list
Note. Judicial Officers should instructed all petition-writers practicing in their Courts to prepare lists in the above form for all documents intended to be produced in Court.
51. Documents should be produced at the first hearing. The Court should formally call upon the parties at the first hearing to produce their documents and should make a note that it has done so. Forms have been prescribed by the High Court for the examination of the parties with reference to their documents and these should be invariably used. If the printed forms are not at any time available, the questions prescribed invariably used. If the printed forms are not any time available, the questions prescribed therein should be asked and the questions as well as the answers noted. If these instructions are strictly carried out, there will be no justification for plea frequently put forward by ignorant litigants with regard to the late production of a document that they had brought the documents at the first hearing but were not called upon to produce it.
52. Documents produced at a later stage. The above provisions as regards the production of the documents at the at the initial stage of a suit are intended to minimize the chances of fabrication of documentary evidence during the course of the suit as well as to give the earliest possible the notice to each party of the documentary evidence relied upon by the opposite party. These provisions should, therefore, be strictly observed and if any document is tendered at a later stage, the Court should consider carefully the nature of the document sought to be produced (e.g., whether there is any suspicion about its genuineness or not) and the reasons given for its non-production at the proper stage, before admitting it. The fact of a document being in possession of a servant or agent of a party on whose behalf it is tendered is not itself a sufficient reason for allowing the document to be produced after the time, prescribed by Order XIII, Rule 1. The Court must always record its reasons for admission of the document in such cases, if it decides to admit it (Order XIII, Rule 2).
53. Documents with a suspicious appearance or executed on unstamped or insufficiently stamped paper. Should any document which has been partially erased or interlined, or which otherwise presents a suspicious appearance, be presented at any time in the course of proceedings a note should be made of the fact and, should a well-founded suspicion of fraudulent alteration of forgery subsequently arise, the document should be impounded under Order XIII, Rule 8 and action taken under sections 340, 342 and 344 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Similarly, should any document be presented which appears to have been executed on unstamped paper or insufficiently stamped paper, action should be taken under sections 33 and 35 of the Indian Stamp Act, 1899.
54. Distinction between mere production and admission in evidence. Courts should be careful to distinguish between mere production of documents and their ‘admission in evidence’ after being either ‘admitted’ by the opposite party or ‘proved’ according to law. When documents are ‘produced’ by the parties they are only temporarily placed on the record subject to their being ‘admitted in evidence’ in evidence in due course. Only documents which are duly ‘admitted in evidence’ form a part of the record while the rest must be returned to the parties producing them (Order XIII, Rule 7).
55. Exhibiting of documents. Every document ‘admitted in evidence’ must be endorsed and signed or initialed by the Judge in the manner required by Order XIII, Rule 4, and marked with an exhibit number. Documents produced by the plaintiff may be conveniently marked as Ex. P.1., Ex. P.2, etc., while those produced by the defendant as Ex. D-1, D-2, D-3, etc. to ensure strict compliance with the provisions of Order XIII, Rule 4 (the importance of which has been emphasized by their Lordships of the Privy Council on more than one occasion, e.g., Indian Law Reports 38 Allahabad 627 at page 633) each Revenue Court should be supplied with a rubber stamp in the following form: -
Suit No. of 19
Title Plaintiff Versus Defendant
On the day of 19
Nature of document
Stamp duty for Rs. P. (is not) correct
Admitted as Exhibit No. Collector.