Order XIII – Production, Impounding and Return of Documents

Rule 1: Original documents to be produced at or before the settlement of issues

(1) The parties or their pleader shall produce on or before the settlement of issues, all the documentary evidence in original where the copies thereof have been filed along with plaint or written statement.

(2) The Court shall receive the documents so produced:

Provided that they are accompanied by an accurate list thereof prepared in such form as the High Court directs.

(3) Nothing in sub-rule (1) shall apply to documents—

(a) produced for the cross-examination of the witnesses of the other party; or

(b) handed over to a witness merely to refresh his memory.

Rule 2: Effect of non-production of documents

[Omitted by Act 46 of 1999]

Rule 3: Rejection of irrelevant or inadmissible documents

The Court may at any stage of the suit reject any document which it considers irrelevant or otherwise inadmissible, recording the grounds of such rejection.

Rule 4: Endorsements on documents admitted in evidence

(1) Subject to the provisions of the next following sub-rule, there shall be endorsed on every document which has been admitted in evidence in the suit the following particulars, namely:—

(a) the number and title of the suit,

(b) the name of the person producing the document,

(c) the date on which it was produced, and

(d) a statement of its having been so admitted;

and the endorsement shall be signed or initialled by the Judge.

(2) Where a document so admitted is an entry in a book, account or record, and a copy thereof has been substituted for the original under the next following rule, the particulars aforesaid shall be endorsed on the copy and the endorsement thereon shall be signed or initialled by the Judge.

Rule 5: Endorsements on copies of admitted entries in books, accounts and records

(1) Save in so far as is otherwise provided by the Bankers’ Books Evidence Act, 1891 (18 of 1891), where a document admitted in evidence in the suit is an entry in a letter-book or a shop-book or other account in current use, the party on whose behalf the book or account is produced may furnish a copy of the entry.

(2) Where such a document is an entry in a public record produced from a public office or by a public officer, or an entry in a book or account belonging to a person other than a party on whose behalf the book or account is produced, the Court may require a copy of the entry to be furnished—

(a) where the record, book or account is produced on behalf of a party, then by that party, or

(b) where the record, book or account is produced in obedience to an order of the Court acting of its own motion, then by either or any party.

(3) Where a copy of an entry is furnished under the foregoing provisions of this rule, the Court shall, after causing the copy to be examined, compared and certified in manner mentioned in Rule 17 of Order VII, mark the entry and cause the book, account or record in which it occurs to be returned to the person producing it.

Rule 6: Endorsements on documents rejected as inadmissible in evidence

Where a document relied on as evidence by either party is considered by the Court to be inadmissible in evidence, there shall be endorsed thereon the particulars mentioned in clauses (a), (b) and (c) of Rule 4, sub-rule (1), together with a statement of its having been rejected, and the endorsement shall be signed or initialled by the Judge.

Rule 7: Recording of admitted and return of rejected documents

(1) Every document which has been admitted in evidence, or a copy thereof where a copy has been substituted for the original under Rule 5, shall form part of the record of the suit.

(2) Documents not admitted in evidence shall not form part of the record and shall be returned to the persons respectively producing them.

Rule 8: Court may order any document to be impounded

Notwithstanding anything contained in Rule 5 or Rule 7 of this Order or in Rule 17 of Order VII, the Court may, if it sees sufficient cause, direct any document or book produced before it in any suit to be impounded and kept in the custody of an officer of the Court, for such period and subject to such conditions as the Court thinks fit.

Rule 9: Return of admitted documents

(1) Any person, whether a party to the suit or not, desirous of receiving back any document produced by him in the suit and placed on the record shall, unless the document is impounded under Rule 8, be entitled to receive back the same,—

(a) where the suit is one in which an appeal is not allowed, when the suit has been disposed of, and

(b) where the suit is one in which an appeal is allowed, when the Court is satisfied that the time for preferring an appeal has elapsed and that no appeal has been preferred or, if an appeal has been preferred, when the appeal has been disposed of:

Provided that a document may be returned at any time earlier than that prescribed by this rule if the person applying therefor—

(a) delivers to the proper officer for being substituted for the original,—

(i) in the case of a party to the suit, a certified copy, and

(ii) in the case of any other person, an ordinary copy which has been examined, compared and certified in the manner mentioned in sub-rule (2) of Rule 17 of Order VII, and

(b) undertakes to produce the original, if required to do so:

Provided also, that no document shall be returned which, by force of the decree, has become wholly void or useless.

(2) On the return of a document admitted in evidence, a receipt shall be given by the person receiving it.

Rule 10: Court may send for papers from its own records or from other Courts

(1) The Court may of its own motion, and may in its discretion upon the application of any of the parties to a suit, send for, either from its own records or from any other Court, the record of any other suit or proceeding, and inspect the same.

(2) Every application made under this rule shall (unless the Court otherwise directs) be supported by an affidavit showing how the record is material to the suit in which the application is made, and that the applicant cannot without unreasonable delay or expense obtain a duly authenticated copy of the record or of such portion thereof as the applicant requires, or that the production of the original is necessary for the purposes of justice.

(3) Nothing contained in this rule shall be deemed to enable the Court to use in evidence any document which under the law of evidence would be inadmissible in the suit.

Rule 11: Provisions as to documents applied to material objects

The provisions herein contained as to documents shall, so far as may be, apply to all other material objects producible as evidence.


1. Where the document is not exhibited according to Rule 4 of Order 13, Civil Procedure Code, it is not an exhibit in the eyes of law:

Rekha v. Subhadrabai, (2012) 3 Mah LJ 249 : “It is manifest that the objection regarding insufficiency of stamp has to be decided before exhibiting the document. In the present case, the learned trial Judge has failed to decide the said objection about the insufficiency of stamp though was raised before it was exhibited nor the procedure as is laid down under Rule (4) of Order 13 of the Civil Procedure Code for exhibiting the document has been followed. The said endorsement of exhibit on the document is no endorsement in the eyes of law and cannot be said to have been given proper ‘exhibit’ as per law.”

2. Original Documents to be produced:

Suresh Khan v. The State of Jharkhand, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 1572: “Order XIII Rule 1 CPC mandates that before issues in the suit are settled the parties shall produce the original documents. Before that, under Order XI CPC the parties are permitted to exchange interrogatories.”


Coming up soon….