top of page

The court cannot rely on oral evidence to rebut the documentary evidence. Persons can lie document c


The judgment pronounced by Justice L. NAGESWARA RAO and Justice  HEMANT GUPTA


The plaintiffs are the owner of the land measuring 13 Bighas and 14 Biswas. The defendant was appointed as a Manager to look after and manage the property and was liable to render accounts to the plaintiffs after each crop harvest i.e. twice a year. The plaintiffs allege that there was misfeasance by the defendant, therefore, they terminated the agency and asked him to hand over the charge of the properties. In view of the said assertion, the suit for a permanent injunction, mandatory injunction and for possession of 8 plots of land measuring 13 Bighas 14 Biswas was filed. The present appeal is directed against an order passed by the High Court of Himachal Pradesh on whereby the defendant’s second appeal was allowed and the suit for a permanent injunction, mandatory injunction and rendition of accounts was dismissed.

The defendant asserted that he is a tenant and that suit is exclusively triable by the Revenue Court. He further stated that he is paying one half Galla batai in respect of land measuring 13 Bighas 2 Biswas for the last 12 years. He produced oral evidence for the same.

The plaintiffs in evidence produced the revenue record i.e. Jamabandi and Khasra Girdawari wherein the property in dispute has been shown to be in the ownership and possession of the plaintiffs.

The court observed that, the present is a case where no relationship of landlord and tenant is mentioned in the revenue record though required in terms of Section 32(2)(a) of 1954 Act. In the absence of entry in the revenue record, which is also expected to contain the entry of rent and possession, the tenancy cannot be treated to be in existence only on the basis of oral evidence of the witnesses examined by the defendant. The burden of proving the relationship was on the defendant. Such burden cannot be said to be rebutted only by oral evidence. The witnesses may lie but the documents do not, is a golden rule. The presumption of truth attached to the revenue record can be rebutted only on the basis of evidence of impeccable integrity and reliability. The oral evidence can always be adduced contrary to the revenue record but such oral testimony will not be sufficient to hold that the statutory presumption stands rebutted.

The Court observed that the High Court has erred in law in allowing the defendant’s appeal relying upon oral evidence to rebut the statutory presumption of truth attached to the revenue record. The onus of proof was placed on the defendant by the learned trial court. The burden is on the person who asserts such a relationship as per Section 109 of the Evidence Act. The defendant has failed to 8 (2012) 13 SCC 759 15 rebut the presumption of truth on the basis of reliable, trustworthy and cogent documentary evidence to prove the relationship of a tenant.

Therefore, we find that the presumption of truth attached to the record-of-rights can be rebutted only if there is a fraud in the entry or the entry was surreptitiously made or that prescribed procedure was not followed. It will not be proper to rely on the oral evidence to rebut the statutory presumption as the credibility of oral evidence vis-a-vis documentary evidence is at a much weaker level.

Therefore, thus appeal is allowed.

–  Aarthy K



bottom of page