Evolution of Jurisprudence On admissibility of digital evidence in India
The Genesis: Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act
The journey begins with the introduction of Section 65B through the Indian Evidence (Amendment) Act, 2000. This was a significant milestone as it laid the groundwork for the admissibility of Digital records as evidence in court proceedings.
Initial Interpretation: Anvar P.V. vs P.K. Basheer (2014)
Moving forward, we come across a landmark judgment, Anvar P.V. vs P.K. Basheer. In this case, the Supreme Court held that a certificate under Section 65B(4) is mandatory for electronic records to be admissible as secondary evidence. However, it clarified that this certificate is not required if the original document is produced, such as when the owner of a device testifies to the authenticity of the information stored on it.
Conflicting Views and Clarifications 0n Digital Evidence
The journey takes a twist with the case of Shafhi Mohammad vs State of Himachal Pradesh (2018). A two-judge bench suggested relaxation of the certificate requirement, which was later overruled. This led to another landmark judgment, Arjun Panditrao Khotkar vs Kailash Kishanrao Goratyal (2020), which reaffirmed Anvar P.V. vs P.K. Basheer’s stance, clarified the mandatory requirement of the certificate, and overruled Shafhi Mohammad.
Bombay High Court on WhatsApp Chats
As we move closer to the present day, we see how courts have started to adapt to modern communication methods. The Bombay High Court has considered WhatsApp chats as part of the compendium of evidence in various cases, such as the Rhea Chakraborty bail matter. This demonstrates an evolving approach towards digital evidence, including chats.
Conclusion on Admissibility of Digital evidence in Indian
As we reach the end of our journey, we see that the admissibility of digital evidence in Indian courts has come a long way. The judgments rendered by the Supreme Court and High Courts in India underscore a trajectory towards a stringent yet clarified approach in dealing with digital evidence. They particularly emphasize the procedural necessities laid down in Section 65B of the Evidence Act.