What Is E-Evidence In India?

In the midst of the lockdown brought due to the coronavirus pandemic, courts in India are trying different things with videoconferencing to take up matters. The lockdown has injured the legal framework and rendered it unequipped for guaranteeing its constitutional command – that of giving access to justice consistently.

While envisioning a digital court or E- court, just getting rid of the physical working isn’t the aim. Innovation or technology can have a wide cluster of utilizations in court procedures and even encourage a start to finish the complete procedure. Electronic services of request, notice can exponentially accelerate procedures. Digital or E – Court Reporting innovation can give a total interpretation of each conference at the same time producing keen information.[1]

Due to the development of technology, innovation and e-governance all through the Public and Private Sector and e-commerce-based business, Electronic Evidence (e-evidence) has included an important pillar of communicating, processing and documentation. The government organisations are opening up to introduce different administrative approach electronically and periodically fillings to manage and control the ventures are done through electronic methods. These different types of Electronic Evidence are progressively being utilized in legal procedures.[2]

At the phase of the trial, Judges are frequently requested to control the tolerability from electronic evidence or proof and it considerably impacts the result of common claim or conviction of the offender. The Court keeps on wrestling with this new electronic wilderness as the one of a kind sorts of e-evidence, just as the ease with which it very well may be misrepresented, makes an obstacle to tolerability not confronted with different evidences or proof.

The different classifications of electronic evidence, for example, hard disk, memory card information, site information, social media, email, messages, SMS/MMS, CD, DVD and computer-produced documents presents one of a kind issue and difficulties for appropriate confirmation and subject to an alternate arrangement of perspectives.[3] E- Evidence is facts which are removed from electronic records, tools, (for example, PCs, cell phones or some other data (ICT) frameworks) that are considered important and permissible before the court for the purpose of proving facts in issue.[4]

The Indian Evidence Act was amended due to Section 92, Information Technology Act, 2000. It includes Section 3 which was revised, “All documents produced for the inspection of the Court” were altered by “All documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the Court”. With respect to documentary proof or evidence, in Section 59, “Content of documents” was substituted by “Content of documents or electronic records” and in Section 65A & 65B i.e. Admissibility of Electronic Records were embedded to fuse the suitability of electronic evidence.[5] But Section 61 to Section 65 of the Indian Evidence Act, “Document or content of document” was not replaced or substituted by “Electronic Document or Content of Electronic Documents”. Therefore, the intent of the lawmakers was clear that they don’t want to extend the uses of the above sections to Electronic documents or records.

In the period of digitization and expanding dependence on electronic records in legal procedures, the Supreme Court has held that the prerequisite of a certificate to make an electronic evidence allowable isn’t required “any place interest of justice so validate”. The Supreme Court explained that section 65B, Indian Evidence Act, which manages Admissibility of electronic evidence in legal proceedings, will also affect criminal trials, where number of call records, CCTV footage, video recording and CDs are being depended upon. Interpretation of section 65B (4), Indian Evidence Act, a bench of Justices Goel and Lalit said the arrangement or provision ought to be applied just when such electronic evidence is introduced by an individual who is in a situation to create such certificate. Section 65(B), the Indian Evidence Act says that electronic records should be confirmed by an individual possessing a responsible authority position for being allowable as proof in any court procedures.[6]

The bench had questioned the senior legal advisors, regardless of whether an individual who needs to make a plan of action of vindication in a criminal trial with the help of ticket of a flight, where there was no signature and was only a printout from a computer, would that be able to document be not depended by the court for the need of such certificate. Regarding this, Justice Jayant said the document should be accepted by the court and later it can go for verification. Later, said that Section  65 B of Evidence Act is a procedural arrangement and if the electronic evidence is “true and important” the same can surely be admitted, subject as per the general inclination of the court and it might rely upon the circumstance, for example, “regardless of whether the individual creating such proof is in a situation to provide a certificate under Section 65B(4)”.[7]

In Anvar P.V. case the Supreme Court explained that essential evidence of electronic record was not secured under Sections 65A and 65B of the Evidence Act. Essential evidence is the document delivered before Court and the word “document” is defined under Section 3 of the Evidence Act to mean any issue communicated or depicted upon any substance by methods for letters, figures or checks, or by more than one of those methods, expected to be utilized, or which might be utilized, to record that issue.[8]

With the innovative progression, the admissibility of the electronic evidence must be declared within the boundaries of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act and the recommendation of the law settled in the ongoing judgment of the Supreme Court and different other High Courts in India. All proof/evidence should be approved for authenticity. The weight given in legal proceeding relies on the veracity of the proof. Numerous electronic documents can be immediately approved through hash correlations.

[1] Prashant Nadaraj, S. O. (2020, April 30). Outlook. Retrieved from https://www.outlookindia.com/website/story/opinion-digital-courts-are-we-really-availing-infinite-possibilities-of-technology/351800 

[2] Prashanti. (n.d.). Legalservicesindia. Retrieved from http://www.legalservicesindia.com/article/2027/E-Evidence-in-India.html

[3] Ibid

[4] IGI Global. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.igi-global.com/dictionary/documents-signatures-tanzania/8690

[5] Ibid,2

[6] The Economic Times. (2018, Feb 4). Retrieved from https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/politics-and-nation/courts-can-rely-on-electronic-records-without-certificate-supreme  court/articleshow/62777759.cms?from=mdr

[7] ibid

[8] Dalmia, V. (2018, July 4). Mondaq. Retrieved from https://www.mondaq.com/india/disclosure-electronic-discovery-privilege/715108/admissibility-of-electronic-evidence-under-the-indian-evidence-act-1872

This Article is Authored by Saumya Upadhyay, 2nd Year, Law Student at Xavier Law School, Xavier University Bhubaneswar.

Also Read – How To Prove A Document In Indian Evidence Act?

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