With the new age more and more progress is happening especially in the world of digitalization however this comes with its own set of dangers and various kinds of crimes. While physical evidences have value in the eye of the law electronic evidences are still to able to get a proper recognition. Now talking about electronic evidence, it was first introduced in the Information Technology Act, 2000 and its further amendments were made in both Evidence as well as in the Indian Penal Code, basically electronic evidence refers to that kind of evidence which are stored in an electronic form they can include any kind of digital videos, audios any chat or email recordings etc.
In this article I would discuss in details about the Admissibility of E-Evidence in Court and case laws in relation with it.
SECTIONS DEALING WITH ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE
Section 65 and 65b of Evidence act – As per section 65 it is said that all kinds of electronic evidence can be proved by people if they do it as per the rules and requirements mentioned in
Section 65b (1) –
In this section it is mostly said that if all the requirement are complied with then electronic records can be easily admitted in court
Section 65b (4)-
This particular section states that in case of any proceedings where it is desired to give a statement for a particular evidence must contain a certificate which should include the following details –
- Identification of electronic records which contains the statement and description of the matter.
- Giving details of any sort of evidence which was involved in production of the record for purpose of showing that the particular record was produced by a computer
3.Dealing with any sort of matter which has to be signed by a person occupying a special position with respect the electronic evidence produced in the court.
LEGISLATIVE AMBIGUITY OF E-EVIDENCE
This particular facade comes under section 3 of the Evidence Act which states the fact that a valid evidence should be produced for inspection of the court. This particular section did not include electronic form of evidence but when it was seen that presentation of electronic evidence were made in the court then this section was amended. Following to this an amendment was also made in section 92 of the IT Act.
RELIABILITY OF THE ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE
E-Evidence was made an important element in the court of law in order to get judgement for any case in a speedy manner. Section 65b (2) mentions about some circumstances which proves that how the computer from where electronic record had been produced can be reliable as an evidence in the court of law. The information derived from the computer must be from a reliable source, computer must be of regular use and also in a proper and working condition
COMPARISON WITH UK LAWS
If we compare the laws in India with those present in UK, it was seen that there were minor alterations. Section 65b was a sort of reproduction of section 5 of UK Civil Evidence,1968. India had already adopted a provision which had already been repealed in UK in the year 1995 as India had adopted a provision which was outdated in UK there was an urgent need for a review of this section in India as well. Section 5 of the UK Civil Evidence act was repealed on the basis of certain recommendation given by law council of UK who had actually claimed that huge development in computer technology as well a different regime for computer related documents this section was not of any use.
- State of Delhi v. Navjot Sandhu and Ors.
This particular case is recognized as one of the most notable cases in the field of electronic evidence where an issuance of electronic record was made as an evidence. A two-judged bench of Supreme Court held that in substantive basis of an electronic record as an evidence under sections 63 and 65 of the evidence act is not at all barred, regardless of provisions or conditions mentioned under section 65b of the same act.
- Ramajayam Vs Inspector of Police
In this particular case, there were two brothers Dhanaram and Gunaram who were the owners of a pawnbroking and jewellery shop ‘Balaji Pawn Brokers.’ At around 8:00am, the store was opened by Gunaram. After 1 hour, Dhanaram arrived at the store and he stayed for some time over there before going for his other job. He was suddenly shocked to see his brother lying in the pool of blood when he returned to the shop from his work around midnight. After looking all this, he raised an alarm and then the nearby shop owners arrived. Besides all this, 935 grams of gold were even stolen from the plaintiff. A case was filed in the court of law. The counsel of plaintiffs raised a contention on the basis of ruling in the case of PV Anwar v. PV Basheer in which the sections 65A and 65(b) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
The counsel also contended that as per section 2(t) of the Information Technology At, 2000, there was no proper definition of electronic evidences, the complete database should be taken into court under these circumstances. It was held that since the defendant was captured on the camera while committing crime, the CCTV Footage should be considered as an important proof in this case. .
In the end, the CCTV Footage was considered as the proof of evidence by the court and the convicts were held suspect under sections 404,449.392 and 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The death penalty levied as per section 302 of the Indian Penal Code was overturned and instead of that 25 year of imprisonment was given to the convicts.
In this article therefore we see that the laws are still not in a proper condition the continuous glitches which has been witnessed with addition of e evidences has to be dealt in a serious way. With change in technology and progress in digitization it is very important for India to bring urgent changes in the laws as done by various other countries like England. While we have no clarity over scope of section 65b, important steps are still now needed in order to ensure safety, retention and secrecy of information which has been obtained in the form of electronic evidence. However, it has been observed that despite of a few problems that the courts face with respect to admissibility of E-Evidence in court there is some amount of legal recognition still being provided to such evidences and due to these reasons, it has indeed come a long way from what it was before but this statement cannot be denied that the electronic evidences do not carry the burden of various problems such a falsified information etc.
Author’s Name: Akanksha Chowdhury (Amity University, Kolkata)