Document definition in Indian Penal Code, 1860

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Document definition in Indian Penal Code

[See: Section 29 IPC]


(1) The word “document” denotes :

            – any matter expressed or described upon any substance,

            – by means of letters, figures or marks, or by more than one of those means,

            – intended to be used, or which may be used, as evidence of that matter.

(2) It is immaterial by what means or upon what substance the letters, figures or marks are formed, or whether the evidence is intended for, or may be used in, a Court of Justice, or not. (Explanation 1 Section 29 Indian Penal Code)


-A writing expressing the terms of a contract, which may be used as evidence of the contract, is a document.

-A cheque upon a banker is a document.

-A power-of-attorney is a document.

-A map or plan which is intended to be used or which may be used as evidence, is a document.

-A writing containing directions or instructions is a document.

(3) Whatever is expressed by means of letters, figures or marks as explained by mercantile or other usage, shall be deemed to be expressed by such letters, figures or marks, although the same may not be actually expressed. (Explanation 2 Section 29 Indian Penal Code)

Illustration :

A writes his name on the back of a bill of exchange payable to his order. The meaning of the endorsement, as explained by mercantile usage, is that the bill is to be paid to the holder. The endorsement is a document, and must be construed in the same manner as if the words “pay to the holder” or words to that effect had been written over the signature.

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Also Read : Rules of definition and interpretation in IPC

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