The Uttarakhand High Court clarified that Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, does not presume the truth of facts recorded in government records but only makes the documents admissible.

In the current application two orders were challenged. In the first order, the court had directed the framing of charges under Sections 324, 504, and 506 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the petitioner (a government employee). The second order upheld the first order.

A Bench of Justice Ravindra Maithani held, “A bare reading of Section 35 of the Act does not reveal that anything recorded in a Government record, on its face value, should be presumed to be true, unless otherwise proved. What Section 35 of the Act speaks of it is that the documents mentioned therein shall be admissible.’

Advocate Aditya Singh appeared for the Petitioner and Advocate Manisha Rana Singh appeared for the Respondents.

The petitioner claimed to be on duty during the time of the incident, and superior officers endorsed his duty status. The petitioner contended that the investigating officer failed to consider this aspect.

Furthermore, the petitioner presented a certificate from a government officer as evidence, relying on Section 35 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which pertains to the relevancy of entries in public records made in the performance of duty.

However, the Court rejected the petitioner's plea, emphasizing that the admissibility of documents under Section 35 does not automatically presume the truth of the recorded facts. The Court added, “The petitioner claims that he was not present at the place of incident. He relied on a certificate issued by the Government officer. In view of Section 35 of the Act, the certificate may be relevant, but the fact written in it needs to be proved separately, in accordance with law.”

The Court also addressed the plea of alibi raised by the petitioner, stating that the defense of alibi needs to be proven only after the prosecution has presented its case. The Court said, “The plea of alibi that is being relied on by the petitioner may not be a ground to discharge. It has to be proved by the petitioner once prosecution leads evidence in the case. Therefore, this Court is of the view that the courts below did not commit any error in directing that the charges shall be framed against the petitioner.”

The Court found no merit in the petitioner's arguments and dismissed the petition at the stage of admission itself.

Cause Title: Ganesh Datt Badhani v. State of Uttarakhand & Anr.

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