The Commercial Documents Evidence Act, 1939
(30 of 1939)
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY ▼
Object & Reasons▼
|Certain commercial documents of various kinds are by the practice of merchants accepted as evidance and taken as prima facie correct, but in a Court of law they cannot, in the absence of consent by the parties, be admitted in evidence without testimony as to their genuineness or the correctness of the statements made therein. Such documents are not admissible in evidence under Section 32 or any other provision of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, without further proof. The result is that a party desirous of delaying the proceedings can often insist on the other side getting Commissions issued to take evidence as to facts which are for all practical purposes sufficiently established by the documents in question. It is proposed to undertake legislation on the lines of the Bankers Books Evidence Act, 1891, so as to provide that commercial documents which are accepted as prima facie correct in commercial circles may be admitted in evidence without formal proof. A list of such documents has been prepared in consultation with Commercial Associations and Local Governments, and is included in the Schedule to the Bill, power being reserved to the Government of India to add to the list from time to time and to remove items from it.|
(a) shall presume, within the meaning of that Act, in relation to documents included in Part I of the Schedule, and
(b) may presume, within the meaning of that Act, in relation to documents included in Part II of the Schedule, that any document purporting to be a document included in Part I or Part II of the Schedule, as the case may be, and to have been duly made by or under the appropriate authority, was so made and that the statements contained therein are accurate.4. Definition. - In the Schedule the expression recognised Chamber of Commerce means a Chamber of Commerce recognised by the Government of its country as being competent to issue certificates of origin, and includes any other association similarly recognised.
(See sections 2 and 3)
Documents in relation to which the Court SHALL presume.1. Lloyds Register of Shipping. 2. Lloyds Daily Shipping Index. 3. Llyods Loading List. 4. Lloyds Weekly Casualty Reports. 5. Certificate of delivery of goods to the Manchester Ship Canal Company. 6. Official log book, supplementary official log book and official wireless log kept by a British ship. 7. Certificate of Registry, Safety Certificate, Safety Radio-Telegraphy Certificate, Exemption Certificate, Certificate of Survey, Declaration of Survey, International Load Line Certificate, [Indian Load Line Certificate], Report of Survey of a ship provisionally detained as unsafe, Report of Survey to be served upon the master of a ship declared as unsafe upon survey, Docking Certificate, Memorandum issued under Article 56 of the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, 1929. 8. Certificates A and B issued under the [Indian Merchant Shipping Act, 1923 (21 of 1923)]. 9. The following documents relating to marine insurance, namely, insurance policy, receipt for premium, certificate of insurance and insurance cover note. 10. Certificate concerning the loss of country craft issued by the appropriate authority under Department of Commerce, Mercantile Marine Department Circular No. 2 of 1938. 11. Protest made before a Notary Public or other duly authorised official by a master of a ship relating to circumstances calculated to affect the liability of the ship owner. 12. Licence or permit for radio-telegraph apparatus carried in ships or aircraft. 13. Certificate of registration of an aircraft granted by the Government of the country to which the aircraft belongs. 14. Certificate of airworthiness of an aircraft granted or validated by, or under the authority of, the Government of the country to which the aircraft belongs. 15. Licences and certificates of competency of aircraft personnel granted or validated by, or under the authority of, the Government of the country to which the personnel belongs. 16. Ground Engineers licence issued by a competent authority authorised in this behalf by Government. 17. Consular Certificate in respect of goods shipped or shut out, consular certificates of origin, and consular invoice. 18. Certificate of origin of goods issued (but not merely attested) by a recognised Chamber of Commerce, or by [an Indian or British Consular Officer, or by an Indian or British] Trade Commissioner or Agent. 19. Receipt for payment of customs duty issued by a Customs authority. 20. Schedule issued by a port, dock, harbour, wharfage or warehouse authority, or by a Railway company, showing fees, dues, freights or other charges for the storage, transport or other services in connection with goods. 21. Tonnage schedule and schedule of fees, commission or other charges for services rendered, issued by a recognised Chamber of Commerce. 22. The publication known as the Indian Railway Conference Association Coaching and Goods Tariffs. 23. Copy, certified by the Registrar of Companies, of the memorandum or the articles of association of a company, filed under the [Indian Companies Act, 1913 (7 of 1913)]. 24. Protest, noting and certifying the dishonour of a bill of exchange, made before a Notary Public or other duly authorised official.
Documents in relation to which the Court MAY presume.1. Survey report issued by a competent authority
(i) in respect of cargo loaded; or
(ii) certifying the quantity of coal loaded; or
(iii) in respect of the security of hatches.2. Official log book, supplementary official log book and official wireless log kept by a foreign ship. 3. Dock certificate, dock chalan, dock receipt or warrant, port warehouse certificate or warrant, issued by, or under the authority of, a port, dock, harbour or wharfage authority. 4. Certificate issued by a port, dock, harbour, wharfage or other authority having control of acceptance of goods for shipping, transport or delivery, relating to the date or time of shipment of goods, arrival of goods for acceptance, arrival of vessels or acceptance or delivery of goods, or to the allocation of berthing accommodation to vessels. 5. Export application issued by a port authority showing dues paid, weight and measurement and the shutting out of a consignment. 6. Certificate or receipt showing the weight or measurement of a consignment issued by the official measurer of the Conference Lines, or by a sworn or licensed measurer, or by a recognised Chamber of Commerce. 7. Reports and publications issued by a Port authority showing the movement of vessels, and certificates issued by such authority relating to such movements. 8. Certificate of safety for flight signed by a licensed Ground Engineer. 9. Aircraft log book, journey log book and log book maintained by the owner or operator in respect of aircraft. 10. Passenger list or manifest of goods carried in public transport aircraft. 11. Passenger ticket issued by a steamship company or air transport company. 12. Air consignment note and baggage check, issued by an air transport company in respect of goods carried by air, and the counterfoil or duplicate thereof retained by the carrier. 13. Aircraft load sheet. 14. Storage warrant of a warehouse recognised by a customs, excise, port, dock, harbour, or wharfage authority. 15. Acknowledgment receipt for goods granted by a port, dock, harbour, wharfage or warehouse authority or by a Railway or Steamship company. 16. Customs or excise pass and customs or excise permit or certificate, issued by a customs or excise authority. 17. Force majeure certificate issued by a recognised Chamber of Commerce. 18. Receipt of a Railway or Steamship company granted to a consignor in acknowledgment of goods entrusted to the company for transport. 19. Receipt granted by the Posts and Telegraph Department. 20. Certificate or survey award issued by a recognised Chamber of Commerce relating to the quality, size, weight or valuation, of any goods, count of yarn or percentage of moisture in yarn and other goods. 21. Copy, certified by the Registrar of Companies, of the balance-sheet, profit and loss account and audit report of a company, filed with the said Registrar under the [Indian Companies Act, 1913 (7 of 1913)], and the rules made thereunder.