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Present: LasceUes C.J. and Wood Benton J.
KIBIMENIKA v. DUEATA et al.
63—D. G. Kegalla, 3,210.
Deed thirty years old—Duplicate produced from the Registrar-General's
Office—Admissible in evidence without further proof.
A duplicate of a deed over thirty years old produced from theoffice of the Eegistrar-General is admissible in evidence withoutfurther proof ; it must be held to have been produced fromproper custody within the meaning of section 90 of the EvidenceOrdinance.
A duplicate cannot be treated as a copy of the original deed ;it is in all respects an original deed.
fJlHE facts appear from the judgment.
De Bampayo, K.G., for the appellant.
A. 8t. V. Jayewardene (with him De Soysa), for the respondents.
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18UL April SB, 1913. Lascelkes C.J.—
Kjrmtm&m This appeal relates to the title of a small parcel of land known as
*• Duraya pitawelakumbura, which is a portion of a panguwa containing fourother lands. The lands in dispute, together with the other landsincluded in the panguwa, belonged to one Kira, to whom, for dis-tinction, I will refer to as Kira the elder. The title of the plaintiffis based on a conveyance in the year 1845 from Kira the elder toKira the younger, who is the father of the plaintiff. The plaintiff.having acquired in 1910 the shares of his two brothers now claimstitle to the land in dispute. The defence to the action is two-fold.The defendants state, in the first place, that the deed of 1845 hasnot been proved; and they contend, in the second place, that, evenif this deed has been proved, they have acquired a title by prescrip-tion to the land. With regard to the'first point, it is true that thedocument, which was presumably given by Kira the elder to Kirathe younger, has not been produced in evidence. The plaintiffrelies on the duplicate of the deed which has been produced from theoffice of the Registrar-General. The deed in question is over thirtyyears old, and under section 90 of the Evidence Ordinance is admis-sible without further proof if it has been produced from proper-custody. The document in question cannot, in my opinion, betreated as a copy of an original deed. This document, no less thanthe deed which passed to the grantee, was signed by the parties and.•attested by the notary. It is in all respects an original deed. The•question merely is whether, having been produced from the officeof tiie Registrar-General, it is to be deemed to have come fromproper custody. No authority has been cited vto us as to theadmissibility of a duplicate deed produced under these circum-stances. But on principle I am of opinion that such a deed is■admissible. The law at that date, as now, required deeds relatingto land to be executed in duplicate, and that one of .the duplicatesshould be filed with the Registrar of Lands or the Registrar-General.It is, in my opinion, impossible to say that a deed which has beenproduced from the custody of a public officer, who by law is requiredto have charge of such documents, has not been produced fromproper custody within the meaning of section 90 of the EvidenceOrdinance. I am therefore of opinion that the deed of 184& hasbeen proved. This being so, the will of Kira the elder, on whichthe title of the defendants is based, passed no title to the devisee,and the only ground on which the defendants can rely is that ofprescription.
[His Lordship then discussed the evidence.]
I would dismiss the appeal with costs.
Wood Renton J.—
I entirely agree, and have nothing to add.
KIRIMENIKA v. DURAYA et al