DISCOVERY, INSPECTION, AND PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS UNDER CIVIL PROCEDURE CODE 1908

INTRODUCTION

The basic element of the Rule of Law is its procedures. There should be equal opportunities given to all the parties of the suit for Conducting a Reasonable and fair trial and the principles of natural justice should be followed in every case.

This Article will be discussing provisions related to Discovery of Documents, Production of Documents and Inspection of Documents as provided under Civil Procedure Code 1908.

Discovery is step in pre trial stage in a lawsuit where each party explores or investigates the facts of a case, through the rules and principles of civil procedure, by getting important evidences from the other party by means for discovery devices including requests for answers to interrogatories, requests for production of documents and things, requests for admissions, and depositions.

After the plaint and a written statement is filed by the respective parties of the suit and if the parties feel that facts of the suit are not disclosed then both of the parties can ask the court of law for documents that can give them a clear idea about the facts and circumstances of the case.

Facto Probanda can only be asked by the parties under the procedure of discovery which means that the facts which constitute the party’s case.

DISCOVERY (ORDER XI)

The Concept of Discovery is defined under the Civil Procedure Code, 1908 discovery essentially implies a pre-trial procedural perspective wherein each party is allowed a chance to get proof from the opposite party. It is a proper process wherein the parties get an opportunity to exchange information concerning the witnesses and proof which will be introduced before the court during the procedure of trial.

The primary reason for discovery is to make the parties aware of the case, which implies there will not be any vagueness between parties while the trial is going on. Both the parties will be clear about the plaint made and issues consequently.

There are different sorts of discovery:-

1) Interrogatories;

2) Requests for production of documents

3) Requests for admissions;

4) Statements;

5) Subpoenas duces tecum;

6) Physical and mental examinations.

The extent of this section is fundamentally dictated by the degree of discovery that can be made by the parties with the interference of the court. The information which is gotten during the discovery isn’t should have been admitted in court. According to the prerequisite, parties can get an order from the court for the revelation of required facts or documents from the opposite party to comprehend the goal or objective behind the case. Accordingly, the degree of extensibility of applying this section relies on the idea of the case and material that is asked by the other party. So it is the discretion of the court to choose whether the application is covered according to the degree given to the section under the code or not.

Consequently, it is perceived that this procedure is given to propel or compel the other party to create documents on which they are depending on, other than the proof.  When such particulars concerning the case are posed through inquiries, then they are named as interrogatories. [1]

INSPECTION OF DOCUMENTS (ORDER XI )

Under Order XI Rule 12-21 of the CPC, the rule for the examination or investigation of discovery is given. According to Rule 12 of the code the party can propel different parties to deliver the documents without filing an affidavit to apply to the court, identifying with any matter of inquiry identified with the suit. In any case, such documents need not be admissible in court except if they give out some connection in a matter of controversy

According to Rule 15-19 of Order XXI of the code, the inspection of documents  can be divided into two classes:

  • The documents which are referred to in the pleadings or the affidavits of the parties.
  • The documents which are not referred to in the pleadings of the parties yet are in the force or possession of the parties.

Also, the parties are permitted to get the inspection of the previous classification documents, not the latter one.[2]

PRIVILEGED DOCUMENTS

  • Public Records which Freely available reports;
  • Confidential Communication;

Documents that have exclusive proof of the party’s title. Such referenced special or privileged documents are protected from creation. So to get an advantage from this advantage and to avoid the danger of repetition, the court can order the parties to produce the documents to the court. The court also can inspect and review such documents and learn the legitimacy of the cases which were made to make that set of documents underprivileged.

PREMATURE DISCOVERY

According to Rule 20, a discovery is named as premature discovery or inspection:

1) When the right to discovery depends on the determination of any issue or question in dispute; or

2) For any explanation, it is attractive that any issue or question in a suit ought to be resolved before settling on the right of discovery.[3]

NON COMPLIANCE

According to Rule 21, the order for the court is official and binding or obligatory in nature, and the parties who don’t go along will be at risk to take care of the punishment of the penalty. Therefore, we can comprehend that the expectation of the lawmaking body to give such provision is:

  • To constrain the parties to disclose all the material documents and facts on oath.
  • To limit the parties from coming up with new documents that are really in force or possession of the party during the trial.

The court has the discretion to postpone a premature inspection or discovery. Under such conditions the principal thing court will do is to establish that question or issue and afterward, deal with the discovery. The principal rationale of this provision is to empower the court to recognize the distinction of deciding an issue in suit from deciding the suit itself. Nonetheless, it should be kept in mind that this provision won’t work if the discovery in itself is essential for settling the issue or question.

The significance of such provision is that if the defendant denies agreeing with the provision it will be considered that the safeguard from the defendant’s side will be struck off and that will re establish the situation of the defendant to where he had been as though he has not protected. For the case, if the plaintiff doesn’t go along to the provisions, then it will prompt an adverse impact that implies the plaintiff will disentitle to file a case as a new suit on a similar cause of action, and Res Judicata will be applicable. In this way, non-compliance will affect the case adversely.[4]

PRODUCTION OF DOCUMENTS (ORDER XIII)

According to Rule 1 of Order XIII, the parties or their pleaders will deliver the documents at or before the settlement of questions or issues of the case. [5]

ADMISSION OF DOCUMENTS

Subject to the provisions of the Code the admission of the documents are permitted as proof or shreds of evidence in the suit when the accompanying particulars are made:

  • The number of the suit,
  • The title of the suit
  • The name of the individual who is  producing a particular document,
  • The date on which the award  was delivered, and
  • A statement of it having been so admitted;

The endorsed documents will be signed by the Judge.

Where the admission of documents in proof or shreds of evidence is:

  • An entry in a letter-book
  • An entry in a shop book; or
  •  The Different documents which are in current use, or
  • Entry in a public record produced from the public office or by a public official, or
  • An entry in a book or account of an individual other than a party for whose benefit the book or document is produced; under such conditions, the individual can produce a copy of the archive, after the legitimate examination, comparison, and certification according to Rule 17 of Order VII of the Code. Further, the documents admitted into proof will be important for the record of the suit.[6]

[1] Order XI of the Civil Procedure Code 1908 (Act no 5 of 1908)

[2]  Team @Law Times Journal  Discovery and Inspection of documents, August 28, 2017http://lawtimesjournal.in/discovery-inspection-documents/.

[3]Lakshmi. V. Pillai Discovery, Inspection, Production of documents, Admission & Affidavit under CPC December 28, 2019https://blog.ipleaders.in/documentscpc/#Production_impounding_and_return_of_documents-_Order_13.

[4]  Manish Lakhawat India: Discovery By Interrogatories

23 August 2018 http://www.mondaq.com/india/x/730266/court+procedure/Discovery+By+Interrogatories.

[5] Order XIII of Civil Procedure Code 1908 (Act no 5 of 1908)


Authored By: Gaurav Purohit, 6th Semester, Amity Law School, Amity University Rajasthan

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