Secondary evidence [Admission]

Provisions of Section 65 of the Act 1872 provide for permitting the parties to adduce secondary evidence. However, such a course is subject to a large number of limitations. In a case where original documents are not produced at any time, nor, any factual foundation has been led for giving secondary evidence, it is not permissible for the court to allow a party to adduce secondary evidence.

Thus, secondary evidence relating to the contents of a document is inadmissible, until the non production of the original is accounted for, so as to bring it within one or other of the cases provided for in the section. The secondary evidence must be authenticated by foundational evidence that the alleged copy is in fact a true copy of the original. Mere admission of a document in evidence does not amount to its proof. Therefore, the documentary evidence is required to be proved in accordance with law.

The court has an obligation to decide the question of admissibility of a document in secondary evidence before making endorsement thereon. (Vide: The Roman Catholilc Mission and Anr. v. The State of Madras and Anr., AIR 1966 SC 1457; State of Rajasthan and Ors. v. Khemraj and Ors. AIR 2000 SC 1759; Life Insurance Corporation of India and Anr. v. Ram Pal Singh Bisen, (2010) 4 SCC 491; and M. Chandra v. M. Thangamuthu and Anr. (2010) 9 SCC 712.