As many of you know, it is a common practice in India that all the pages to an Agreement have to be signed/initialled by the parties thereto (over and above the signing by both the parties at the end of the agreement).
[The same is true of other documents placed on record in court like Written Statements and Pleadings].
My question is whether this practice has any basis in the Law of Evidence and Law of Conveyancing ? If the parties to an Agreement [or the deponent in a Written Submission/Pleading] have already signed the deed document at the end of it, affixed their thumb impressions and photographs and the same is duly notarized and registered by paying the paying the applicable stamp duty and registration duty, can it be said that the Deed is not admissible in evidence because each and every page of the document is not signed/initialled by the parties ?
Please note that each and every page is indeed notarized by the authority by affixing the notarial seal to the divider of the pages, showing that no pages have been added/removed from the deed document subsequent to its execution.
Despite this what extra import is added to the document by the presence or absence of the parties’ signature/initials on every page ? In my opinion such understanding has no basis in common sense or Law.
If a party later claims that he has not read certain clauses while signing the document, he shall be automatically Estopped from claiming so since it is settled law i.e. an automatic presumption, since ancient times, that a written statement once signed at the bottom is sufficient proof that the Party thereto is aware of all the contents. Whether or not he has read it is immaterial (certain exceptions exist where the contents are deliberately written in very small font to mislead the signee).
Insights and discussions from the Learned Advocates on this topic will be highly appreciated !
Each and every page of a document, such as an agreement or pleading, is required to be signed by each party for the simple reason that tomorrow an individual page could not be changed unilaterally by one of the parties. Even if the Notary is signing each page or affixing his stamp on each page, there is a possibility that one of the parties can still manipulate an individual page in connivance with the Notary. Further, in the absence of signature of on each page by a party, there is a possibility of him tomorrow claiming that a page has been changed by the other party (in fact, he can himself change a page in his copy and then say that the copy available with the opposite party is not correct or genuine).
Therefore, usually, there is a practice of all parties (and, even witnesses) signing each and every page of the important agreements, etc., in order to avoid future complications. In fact, it is in the interests of all the parties themselves. There is nothing wrong in this.
Thank you very much Dr. Dhamija, for shedding light on this issue.
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