Is certified copy taken itself from photocopy admissible as secondary evidence?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Dr. Ashok Dhamija Dr. Ashok Dhamija 5 months, 1 week ago.

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  • #4865

    Anonymous
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    If the certified copy produced in court is itself taken from a photocopy of a document, can such certified copy be admissible as secondary evidence?

  • #4875

    Secondary evidence is defined in Section 63 of the Evidence Act, which is reproduced as under:

    63. Secondary evidence.—Secondary evidence means and includes—

    (1) certified copies given under the provisions hereinafter contained;

    (2) copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies;

    (3) copies made from or compared with the original;

    (4) counterparts of documents as against the parties who did not execute them;

    (5) oral accounts of the contents of a document given by some person who has himself seen it.

    Illustrations

    (a) A photograph of an original is secondary evidence of its contents, though the two have not been compared, if it is proved that the thing photographed was the original.

    (b) A copy compared with a copy of a letter made by a copying machine is secondary evidence of the contents of the letter, if it is shown that the copy made by the copying machine was made from the original.

    (c) A copy transcribed from a copy, but afterwards compared with the original, is secondary evidence; but the copy not so compared is not secondary evidence of the original, although the copy from which it was transcribed was compared with the original.

    (d) Neither an oral account of a copy compared with the original, nor an oral account of a photograph or machine-copy of the original, is secondary evidence of the original.”

    From the above, it can be seen that as per clause (2) of Section 63, copies made from the original by mechanical processes which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy, and copies compared with such copies, are also considered as secondary evidence. Here, “such copies” means copies made from the original by mechanical process which in themselves insure the accuracy of the copy. Thus, it appears that the expression “such copies” includes photocopies which have been produced by a mechanical process ensuring the accuracy of the copying process. In view of this, a copy made from and compared with such a photocopy may also perhaps be submitted as a secondary evidence of the original document.

    If, in your question, you are referring to a “certified copy” as is given under Section 76 of the Evidence Act, of the public documents, then in such situation such certified copy is required to be a copy of the public document itself.

    Therefore, the answer to your question will depend on the detailed facts of the case concerned. But, as explained above, in certain situations it may be possible to allow a copy made from and compared with the photocopy (which has been obtained by a mechanical process from the original ensuring the accuracy of the photocopying process) as secondary evidence of the original.

         


    Dr. Ashok Dhamija is a New Delhi based Supreme Court Advocate and author of law books. Read more about him by clicking here. List of his Forum Replies. List of his other articles. List of his Quora Answers. List of his YouTube Videos.

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