1. Both of the cases cited are decisions under the Stamp Act of 1869. That Act (XVII of 1869) by Section 18 provided only that the instrument should bear a stamp of a value not less than the amount of the proper duty, in order to be admissible. The present Act goes much further than this. It provides, by Section 34, that an instrument shall not be admitted in evidence “unless such instrument is duly stamped.” Such a provision clearly imposes upon the Court the duty of seeing in every case whether an instrument presented to it is ‘duly stamped’ or not. ‘Duly stamped’ is defined in the Act to be “stamped in accordance with the law in force when such instrument was executed, or first executed.” When this instrument was executed, Act I of 1879 was in force. That Act, in Section 16, lays down that “all instruments chargeable with duty and executed by any person in British India shall be stamped before or at the time of execution.” If an instrument is not so stamped, clearly it is not stamped according to the Act, and cannot be held, therefore, to be ‘duly stamped.’ As it is the duty of the Court to ascertain whether or not the instrument was stamped before or at the time of execution, I allow the questions.
2. The witness was then examined on the subject; and on the evidence, the Court, finding that the document had not been stamped at or before the time of execution, refused to admit it in evidence. The Court referred to Sakalchand Jadhavji v. Guldbchand Motichand Printed Judgments for 1882 p. 29.