Summaries and Secondary Evidence: Transnational Legislative Borrowing in Colonial India
Dr. Abhinav Chandrachud*
Volume 10 Issue 1 (2017)
This paper traces the historical origins of §65(g) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which permits summaries of voluminous documents to be admitted in evidence. Even though it was the English common law which was ostensibly codified in British India, no such rule now exists in the U.K. It will be seen that the words contained in §65(g) were quietly borrowed, without attribution, by the Briton Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Law Member of the Viceroy’s Council in British India, from a draft civil procedure code prepared in New York in 1850 by a prominent American lawyer, David Dudley Field. This paper will discuss the broader implications of the transplant of evidentiary rules from 19th century America or Britain to India (where the distinction between judge and jury is, and always has been, very narrow).