Aktiebolaget Volvo and Ors. Vs. R. Venkatachalam and Anr.

Aktiebolaget Volvo and Ors. Vs. R. Venkatachalam and Anr.

160 (2009) DLT 100

Whether it is permissible in law to permit a party to a civil suit to file only photocopy of the document and exempt such party from placing the original document on the file of the court and merely to give inspection thereof to the opposite party at the time of admission/denial of documents and at the time of tendering the document into evidence and to put the Exhibit mark again on photocopy on the file of the court?

Plaintiffs filed a suit for permanent injunction restraining infringement of trademark, passing off, etc. Plaintiffs applied to permit them to rely on the photocopies and to produce the originals only for inspection at the time of admission/denial of documents. It was argued by the Plaintiffs that they have filed only copies, as original documents are required in various litigations globally.

Defendants contested the application by pleading that as per Order 7 Rule 14 the Plaintiffs are required to file with the plaint documents on which they rely or sue. Under Order 13 Rule 1 the parties are required to produce on or before the settlement of issues all the documents/evidence in original.

The Court observed:

Reference in CPC to documents, except in Order 13 Rule 1 is not necessarily to the original documents and includes copies. Thus the contention of Order 7 Rule 14 requiring originals is incorrect.

A photocopy would also be a document. It can’t be said that the provisions of the CPC for filing of documents necessarily relate to original documents.

The next questions is, as to whether under Order 13 Rule 1 of the CPC the original document has to be placed on the file of the court or to be merely given inspection of for admission/denial of documents; and whether the Evidence Act, 1872 while providing for proof of documents by primary evidence requires filing/placing of the original document on the record of the court.

As per Section 62 of the Evidence Act, 1872 even at the stage of proof, the requirement is only for production of the original for inspection of the court and not of filing of the original.

It cannot be argued that production for inspection has to be necessarily by placing it on the file. It can also be by producing it as and when directed by the court for inspection. Thus, Order 13 Rule 1 of the CPC requiring production of originals has to be necessarily meant as production of original for inspection of the court and not as filing of the original.

Scheme of the legislative provisions permits production of originals for inspection only and filing of copies only.

The aforesaid should not be understood as laying down that in all cases the filing of photocopies is enough. If the document is doubtful or for any other reason required by the court to remain in original, the court can always direct so and a party cannot insist on filing of copy only. There may be other instances where filing of the original is necessary, as in the case of documents like Will, Agreements which may be terminated/cancelled by destruction.

Held:

In law there is no impediment to granting the application.

Full Text

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