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Trial Court should not make any endorsement on original document until the period of limitation to challenge decree has passed: High Court of New Delhi

Trial Court shall not proceed to make any endorsement on the documents which are produced and filed by the petitioner in compliance with the Impugned order till the period of limitation for challenging any decree that may be passed, if at all, against the petitioner has expired and subject to any orders being passed by the Appellate Court in such appeal, if filed by the petitioner. This was held in MS. ANITA CHANDRA v. MR. SUDHIR CHANDRA AND ORS [CM(M) 25/2021] in the High Court of New Delhi by single bench consisting of JUSTICE NAVIN CHAWLA.

Facts are that learned Additional District had allowed the application of the respondent no.1 under Section 31 of the SRA, 1963, for a direction to the petitioner to file the documents in original. The application had been made at the stage when the suit was listed for final arguments before the Court. The petitioner has filed petition challenging the order.

The learned counsel for the respondent contended that the Court can, at any stage, require the parties to file the documents in original and especially where the authenticity of the documents is in question. He cited judgement of Aktiebolaget Volvo & Ors. vs. R.Venkatachalam & Anr.

The court in order to discuss the scheme of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908 in relation to the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 referred to the judgement of Aktiebolaget Volvo & Ors. vs. R.Venkatachalam & Anr., wherein the following observations were made, “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 on the file of the court, 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. The courts can in such cases insist upon the original being filed on the record.”

Considering the facts of the case and keeping in mind the settled proposition of law on the subject. The Court held that, Even though the court had power to order production of documents, they have to first adjudicate on the documents in challenge as being void or voidable and thereafter order it to be delivered and cancelled. The Courts should not, at the time of passing of decree itself make any endorsement on the documents, merely because the documents are on the record of the Court, doing so will make the right of the unsuccessful party to appeal against the said decree redundant.

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