Proof of signature and handwriting of person

67. Proof of signature and handwriting of person alleged to have signed or written document produced.

If a document is alleged to be signed or to have been written wholly or in part by any person, the signature or the handwriting of so much of the document as is alleged to be in that person’s handwriting must be proved to be in his handwriting.

*Admissibility- Non-examination of executants of receipt admissibility of receipts not proper.
Related Case- Ramkrishna Dode v. Anand, 1999

67A. Proof as to electronic signature.

Except in the case of a secure electronic signature, if the electronic signature of any subscriber is alleged to have been affixed to an electronic record the fact that such electronic signature is the electronic signature of the subscriber must be proved.

Bare Act PDFs

68. Proof of execution of document required by law to be attested.

If a document is required by law to be attested it shall not be sued as evidence until one attesting witness at least has been called for the purpose of proving its execution if there be an attesting witness alive, and subject to he process of the Court and capable of giving evidence: 

Provided that it shall not be necessary to call an attesting witness in proof of the execution of any document, not being a will, which has been registered in accordance with the provisions of the Indian Registration Act,1908 (16 of 1908), unless its execution by the person by whom it purports to have been executed is specially denied.

*Endorsement by sub registrar-

Endorsement by sub registrar that executant had acknowledged execution before him amounts to attestation.
Related Case- Pentakota Satyanarayana v. Pentakota Seetharatnam, 2005

One of the requirements of due execution of Will is its attestation by two or more witnesses which is mandatory. Section 68 speaks of as to how a document required by law to be attested can be proved. It flows from the section that if there be an attesting witness alive capable of giving evidence and subject to the process of the court, has to be necessarily examined before the document required by law to be attested can be used in evidence.
Related Case- Janaki Narayan Bhoir versus Narayan Namdeo Kadam, 2003

69. Proof where no attesting witness found.

If no such attesting witness can be found, or if the document purports to have been executed in the United Kingdom, it must be proved that the attestation of one attesting witness at least is in his handwriting, and that the signature of the person executing the document is in the hand writing of that person.

70. Admission of execution by party to attested document.

The admission of a party to an attested document of its execution by himself shall be sufficient proof of its execution as against him, though it be a document required by law to be attested.

71. Proof when attesting witness denies the execution.

If the attesting witness denies or does not recollect the execution of the document its execution may be proved by other evidence.

*Object-

(i) Section 71 is in the nature of a safeguard to the mandatory provisions of section 68, to meet a situation where it is not possible to prove the execution of the will by calling attesting witnesses though alive. Aid of section 71 can be taken only when the attesting witnesses who have been called, deny or fail to re-collect the execution of the document to prove it by other evidence.
Related Case- Janaki Narayan Bhoir versus Narayan Namdeo Kadam, 2003

(ii) Section 71 is meant to lend assistance and come to the rescue of a party who had done his best but driven to a state of helplessness and impossibility cannot be left down without any other means of proving due execution by other evidence as well.
Related Case- Janaki Narayan Bhoir versus Narayan Namdeo Kadam, 2003

72. Proof of document not required by law to be attested.

An attested document not required by law to be attested may be proved as if it was unattested.

73. Comparison of signature, writing or seal with others admitted or proved.

In order to ascertain whether a signature, writing or seal is that of the person by whom it purports to have been written or made, any signature, writing or seal admitted or proved to the satisfaction of the Court to have been written or made by that person may be compared with the one which s to be proved, although that signature, writing, or seal has not been produced or proved for any other purpose. The Court may direct any person present in Court to write any words or figures for the purpose of enabling the Court to compare the words or figures so written with any words or figures alleged to have been written by such person. 

This section applies also with any necessary modifications, to finger-impressions.

*Power of Court-

(i) The court is entitled to make a comparison of disputed and admitted signature for just conclusion as a rule of prudence expert opinion can be obtained. Reasons necessary to reach conclusion.
Related Case- Ashok Kr Uttam Chand Shah v. Patel Mohmad Asmal Chanchad, 1999

(ii) It is within jurisdiction of court to instruct a party to submit his writing or signature enabling court to compare and decide the case, if the instructions are not followed court is free to presume what is most closer to justice.
Related Case- Shyam Sundar Chowkhani versus Kajal Kanti Biswas, 1999

(iii) It is not open for court to compare handwriting and or a signature of its own. Services of experts are liable to be taken for this purpose.
Related Case- Shyam Sundar Chowkhani versus Kajal Kanti Biswas, 1999

(iv) Under the law the court has power to compare signatures or handwriting strengthening its findings based on other cogent material and evidence on record.
Related Case- Satish Jayanthilal Shah v Pankaj Mashruwala, 1997

73A. Proof as to verification of digital signature.

In order to ascertain whether a digital signature is that of the person by whom it purports to have been affixed, the Court may direct-

(a) that person or the Controller or the Certifying Authority to produce the Digital Signature Certificate; 

(b) any other person to apply the public key listed in the Digital Signature Certificate and verify the digital signature purported to have been affixed by that person.

Explanation-
For the purposes of this section, “Controller” means the Controller appointed under sub-section (1) of section 17 of the Information Technology Act, 2000.

Public documents

74. Public documents.

The following documents are public documents-
(1) Documents forming the acts, or records of the acts-
(i) of the sovereign authority,
(ii) of official bodies and tribunals, and
(iii) of public officers, legislative, judicial and executive, [of any part of India or of the Commonwealth], or of a foreign country; 

(2) Public records kept in any State of private documents.

*Certified copy of will is not a public document within meaning of section 74.
Related Case- Sampat Singh v. Bhagwanti, 2010

75. Private documents.

All other documents are private.

76. Certified copies of Public Documents.

Every public officer having the custody of a public document, which any person has a right to inspect, shall give that person on demand a copy of it on payment of the legal fees therefor together with a certificate written at the foot of such copy that it is a true copy of such document or part thereof, as the case may be, and such certificate shall be dated and subscribed by such officers with his name and his official title, and shall be sealed whenever such officer is authorised by law to make use of a seal, and such copies so certified shall be called certified copies. 

Explanation-
Any officer who, by the ordinary course of official duty, is authorised to deliver such copies, shall be deemed to have the custody of such documents within the meaning of this section.

77. Proof of documents by production of certified copies.

Such certified copies may be produced in proof of the contents of the public documents or parts of the public documents of which they purport to be copies.

78. Proof of other official documents.

The following public documents may be proved as follows-

(1) Acts, orders or notifications of the General Government in any of its departments, or of the Crown Representative or of any State Government or any department of any State Government-
By the records of the departments, certified by the heads of those departments respectively, or
By any document purporting to be printed by order of any such Government or as the case may be, of the Crown Representative.

(2) The proceedings of the Legislatures-
By the journals of those bodies respectively, or by published Acts or abstracts, or by copies purporting The Orient Tavern be printed by order of the Government concerned.

(3) Proclamations, orders or regulations issued by Her Majesty or by the privy Council, or by any department of Her Majesty’s Government-
By copies or extracts contained in the London Gazette, or purporting to be printed by the Queen’s Printer.

(4) The Acts of the Executive or the proceedings of the Legislature of a foreign country-
By journals published by their authority, or commonly received in that country as such, or by a copy certified under the seal of the country or sovereign, or by a recognition thereof in some Central Act.

(5) The proceedings of a municipal body in a State-
By a copy of such proceedings certified by the legal keeper thereof of by a printed book purporting to be published by the authority of such body.

(6) Public documents of any other class in a foreign country-
By the original, or by a copy certified by the legal keeper thereof with a certificate under the seal of a notary public, or of an Indian consul or diplomatic agent, that the copy is duly certified by the officer having the legal custody of the original and upon proof of the character of the document according to the law of the foreign country.

STATE AMENDMENT
West Benga
l

After section 78, insert the following section, namely-

78A. Copies of public documents, to be as good as original documents in certain cases-

Notwithstanding anything contained in this Act or any other law for the time being in force, where any public documents concerning any areas within West Bengal have been kept in Pakistan, then copies of such public documents shall, on being authenticated in such manner as may be prescribed from time to time by the State Government by notification in the Official Gazette, be deemed to have taken the place of and to be, the original documents from which such copies were made and all references to the original documents shall be construed as including references to such copies.

Next,
Section 79 to Section 90A, Chapter V – PRESUMPTIONS AS TO DOCUMENTS→


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