1) Introduction -
Section 79 to 90A of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 lay down the provisions relating to the presumptions as to document. Section 79 to 85 of the said Act deal with are called presumptions of law and Section 86 to 88 and 90 are related to the presumptions of fact.
2) Meaning and Definition of Presumption - The term presumption can be defined to be an inference affirmative or dissaffirmative of the truth or falsehood of a doubtful fact proportion, drawn by a process of probable reasoning from something proved or taken for granted.
Classification of Presumptions - Presumptions can be classified into May presume, Shall Presume and Conclusive presumes... See in detail... Classification of Presumptions under the Indian Evidence Act 1872
3) Document -
“Document” means any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters figures or marks, or by more than one of those means, intended to be used or which may be used, for the purpose of recording that matter.
Illustrations - A writing is a document; Words printed, lithographed or photographed are documents; A map or plan is a document; An inscription on a metal plate or stone is a document; A caricature is a document.
See Kinds of Documentary Evidence
Difference between Public Document and Private Document
4) Presumption as to Document -
Under the Indian Evidence Act, presumption as to document are as follows -
a) Presumption as to genuineness of certified copies ).
The Court shall presume to be genuine every document purporting to be a certificate, certified copy, or other document, which is by law declared to be admissible as evidence of any particular fact, and which purports to be duly certified by any officer of the Central Government or of a State Government, or by any officer in the State of Jammu and Kashmir who is duly authorized thereto by the Central Government:
Provided that such document is substantially in the form and purports to be executed in the manner directed by law in that behalf. The Court shall also presume that any officer by whom any such document purports to be signed or certified, held, when he signed, the official character which he claims in such paper.
b) Presumption as to documents produced as records of evidence (Section -80).
Whenever any document is produced before any Court, purporting to be a record or memorandum of the evidence, or of any part of the evidence, given by a witness in a judicial proceeding or before any officer authorized by law to take such evidence or to be statement or confession by any prisoner or accused person taken in accordance with law, and purporting to be signed by any Judge or Magistrate, or by any such officer as aforesaid, the Court shall presume - that the document is genuine; that any statements as to the circumstances under which it was taken, purporting to be made by the person signing it, are true, and that such evidence, statement or confession was duly taken.
c) Presumption as to Gazettes, newspapers, private Acts of Parliament and other documents (Section -81)
The Court shall presume the genuineness of every document purporting to be the London Gazette, or any official Gazette or the Government Gazette of any colony, dependency or possession of the British Crown, or to be a newspaper or journal, or to be a copy of private Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom printed by the Queen’s Printer and of every document purporting to be a document directed by any law to be kept by any person, if such document is kept substantially in the form required by law and is produced from proper custody.
d) Presumption as to Gazettes in electronic forms (Section - 81A).
Presumption as to Gazettes in electronic forms.- The Court shall presume the genuineness of every electronic record purporting to be the Official Gazette or purporting to be electronic record directed by any law to be kept by any person if such electronic record is kept substantially in the form required by law and is produced from proper custody.
e) Presumption as to document admissible in England without proof of seal or signature (Section - 82).
When any document is produced before any Court, purporting to be a document which, by the law in force for the time being in England or Ireland, would be admissible in proof of any particular in any Court of Justice in England or Ireland, without proof of the seal or stamp or signature authenticating it, or of the judicial or official character claimed by the person by whom it purports to be signed, the Court shall presume that such seal, stamp or signature is genuine and that the person signing it held at the time when he signed it, the judicial or official character which he claims; and the document shall be admissible for the same purpose for which it would be admissible in England or Ireland.
f) Presumption as to Maps or Plans made by authority of Government ( Section - 83).
The Court shall presume that maps or plans purporting to be made by the authority of the Central Government or any State Government were so made, and are accurate, but maps or plans made for the purposes of any cause must be proved to be accurate.
g) Presumption as to collections of laws and reports of decisions (Section - 84) -
The Court shall presume the genuineness of every book purporting to be printed and published under the authority of the Government of any country, and to contain any of the laws of that country; and of every book purporting to contain reports of decisions of the Courts of such country.
h) Presumption as to powers of attorney (Section 85) -
The Court shall presume that every document purporting to be a power-of-attorney, and to have been executed before, and authenticated by, a Notary Public, or any Court, Judge, Magistrate, Indian Consul or Vice-Consul, or representative of the Central Government, was so executed and authenticated.
i) Presumption as to electronic agreements (Section 85A).
The Court shall presume that every electronic record purporting to be an agreement containing the electronic signatuers of the parties was so concluded by affixing the electronic signature of the parties.
j) Presumption as to electronic records and digital signatures (Section 85B).
(1) In any proceedings involving a secure electronic record, the Court shall presume unless contrary is proved, that the secure electronic record has not been altered since the specific point of time to which the secure status relates.
(2) In any proceedings, involving secure digital signature, the Court shall presume unless the contrary is proved that—
(a) the secure electronic signature is affixed by subscriber with the intention of signing or approving the electronic record;
(b) except in the case of a secure electronic record or a secure digital signature, nothing in this section shall cerate any presumption, relating to authenticity and integrity of the electronic record or any electronic signature.
k) Presumption as to Digital Signature Certificates (Section 85C)
The Court shall presume, unless contrary is proved, that the information listed in an Electronic Signature Certificate is correct, except for information specified as subscriber information which has not been verified, if the certificate was accepted by the subscriber.
l) Presumption as to certified copies of foreign judicial records (Section 86) -
The Court may presume that any document purporting to be a certified copy of any judicial record of any country not forming part of India] or of Her Majesty’s dominions is genuine and accurate, if the document purports to be certified in any manner which is certified by any representative of the Central Government in or for such country to be the manner commonly in use in that country for the certification of copies of judicial records. An officer who, with respect to any territory or place not forming part of India or Her Majesty’s dominions, is a Political Agent therefore, as defined in section 3, clause (43), of the General Clauses Act, 1897 (10 of 1897), shall, for the purposes of this section, be deemed to be a representative of the Central Government in and for the country comprising that territory or place.
m) Presumption as to Books, Maps and Charts (Section 87)
The Court may presume that any book to which it may refer for information on matters of public or general interest, and that any published map or chart, the statements of which are relevant facts, and which is produced for its inspection, was written and published by the person, and at the time and place, by whom or at which it purports to have been written or published.
n) Presumption as to Telegraphic Messages (Section 88) -
The Court may presume that a message, forwarded from a telegraph office to the person to whom such message purports to be addressed, corresponds with a message delivered for transmission at the office from which the message purports to be sent; but the Court shall not make any presumption as to the person by whom such message was delivered for transmission.
o) Presumption as to electronic messages (Section 88A)
The Court may presume that an electronic message, forwarded by the originator through an electronic mail server to the addressee to whom the message purports to be addressed corresponds with the message as fed into his computer for transmission; but the Court shall not make any presumption as to the person by whom such message was sent. Explanation For the purposes of this section, the expressions “addressee” and “originator” shall have the same meanings respectively assigned to them in clauses (b) and (za) of sub-section (1) of section 2 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.
p) Presumption as to due execution etc., of documents not produced (Section 89)
The Court shall presume that every document, called for and not produced after notice to produce, was attested, stamped and executed in the manner required by law.
q) Presumption as to documents thirty years old (Section 90)
Where any document, purporting or proved to be thirty years old, is produced from any custody which the Court in the particular case considers proper, the Court may presume that the signature and every other part of such document, which purports to be in the handwriting of any particular person, is in that person’s handwriting, and, in the case of a document executed or attested, that it was duly executed and attested by the persons by whom it purports to be executed and attested. Explanation Documents are said to be in proper custody if they are in the place in which, and under the care of the person with whom, they would naturally be; but no custody is improper if it is proved to have had a legitimate origin, or if the circumstances of the particular case are such as to render such an origin probable. This Explanation applies also to Section 81.
(a) A has been in possession of landed property for a long time. He produces from his custody deeds relating to the land showing his titles to it. The custody is proper.
(b) A produces deeds relating to landed property of which he is the mortgagee. The mortgagor is in possession. The custody is proper.
(c) A, a connection of B, produces deeds relating to lands in B’s possession, which were deposited with him by B for safe custody. The custody is proper.
r) Presumption as to electronic records five years old (Section 90A)
Where any electronic record, purporting or proved to be five years old, is produced from any custody which the Court in the particular case considers proper, the Court may presume that the electronic signature which purports to be the electronic signature of any particular person was so affixed by him or any person authorised by him in this behalf.
Explanation Electronic records are said to be in proper custody if they are in the place in which, and under the care of the person with whom, they naturally be; but no custody is improper if it is proved to have had a legitimate origin, or the circumstances of the particular case are such as to render such an origin probable.
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