Whether Carbon Copy of Medical Certificate is Primary Evidence or Secondary Evidence?
Before discussing the case law in this respect, we must understand Section 62 & 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Section 65 deals with the procedure for giving secondary evidence when primary evidence is not available.
Section 62 talks about “Primary evidence”. Explanation 2 of Section 62 states that where a documents are made by one uniform process, as in the case of printing, lithography, or photography, each is primary evidence of the contents of the rest but, where they are copies of a common original, they are not primary evidence of the contents of the original.
Chumman Singh & Others vs. State of Bihar
In Chumman Singh & Others vs. State of Bihar MANU/BH/0206/2006, the question before Patna High Court was whether the carbon copy of a document is a primary evidence of the medical certificates and whether it can be admitted into evidence without calling for the original and without complying with provisions given under Section 65 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872?
– Addl. Session Judge, Muzaffarpur while relying on explanation 2 of Section 62 held carbon copies of medical certificate are primary evidence.
– Findings of Session Judge were challenged before the Patna High Court on the ground that they are secondary pieces of evidence which could not be admitted unless the requirement for the proof of secondary evidence are complied with.
The Patna HC relied on the case of Prithi Chand vs. State of HP, MANU/SC/0420/1989, in which Supreme Court has held that the carbon copy made by one uniform process of certificate of Doctor given in discharge of professional duty is admissible in evidence under Explanation 2 of Section 62 as also under the provisions of Section 32 of the Evidence Act if the court is of the view that the attendance of the Doctor could not be procured without an amount of delay. This decision sets at rest, the law on the subject by holding that the carbon copy of a document made by the uniform process is a primary evidence and not the secondary evidence.
The Patna HC said that the Section 65 is concerned with the procedure provided for giving secondary evidence in a case. Also, the Court while referring to the above case said that the carbon copy is not a secondary evidence.
Therefore, Patna High Court upheld the decision of the Session Court, saying that as per explanation 2 to Section 62 of the Evidence Act it is the primary evidence of the original and, therefore, admissible in evidence as such. They cannot be said to be copies of a common original.