THE BANKERS BOOK EVIDENCE ACT, 1891

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Ever since the beginning of civilization man realized the materialistic needs which sustains his life. He wanted to have his own shelter, family and one of the important things in the life which enabled him to live. It is the desire of wealth creation. The barter system prevailed before the invention of money. The value of money in every day’s life increased. The influence of money pursued the man to look for more opportunities to make it. The security of the wealth created made the man think about several options to keep it in safe custody for utilizing them for his necessities. Along with the passage of time several methods were discovered to deposit the money. The system of banking started when one person took the responsibility to look after the safe custody of money of others for a fixed period of time. In olden times money lenders used to give and take money on security given to them. Later on small financial institutions emerged where public could deposit their money for a stipulated time. Today the banking sector had grown with new schemes and strategies. Nationalized and private banks are innumerable today.

The basic structure of a thing cannot be altered at any circumstances. Even in the primitive form of old banking system there were record keeping about the transactions.  After the invention of paper and printing the transactions in a financial institution were recorded on papers or books. Gradually book keeping or recording of the transactions were made in bank books like registers, ledgers, account books, cash books etc. In order to have legal capacity the law of evidence was amended in accordance with the bank records in act number 18 of 1891 as the Bankers book act in 1891. In court related matters the cases where the banking records are taken for evidence, the provisions of the Bankers Book Evidence Act is applied. By virtue of Act 26, the Bankers bank evidence act is extended to Pondicherry. The act contains 8 sections which briefly state the provisions including definitions, scope and objective. Any institution or company which carries out banking is bound by the act if any legal proceeding is initiated against them. They are liable to produce all banking records including ledger, account books or any information relating to recording keeping if the court ordered to produce. In new generation banking system any data which is stored electronically the copy of such stored data had to be produced if court ordered to do so. The certified copy of written transactions need to produced normally. In electronic data the copy of such entries need to be present before the court in accordance with the provisions of section 2 A of the Act.

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Section 4 of the act specifies in certain matters the original entries have to be produced for the proper investigation. A bank which is not a party to the suit cannot be compelled to produce it by the virtue of section 5 of the act. Section 6 defines the discretion of the court to inspect the records. Section 7 deals with how the cost of the suit to be taken by the banks. As per section 8 the execution of the court order must be done by a specific officer on behalf of the government.

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The Bankers Book evidence is the real guidelines for any banking institutions that will get the clear idea about the legal proceedings which relates to banking records. Any discrepancy in the records will amount to violation of the act. In India the Act has a strong impact on the banking institutions and they are bound by the act in production of records in litigation.

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