SC clears air on electronic records

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that courts can rely on electronic records as admissible evidence and it is not always mandatory that a person in a responsible position has to certify them if "interest of justice so justifies".

A bench of Justices A.K. Goel and U.U. Lalit said if this were not permitted, it would "be denial of justice to the person who is in possession of authentic evidence/witness".

"Thus, requirement of a certificate under Section 65B(4) is not always mandatory," the bench said, interpreting a provision of the Indian Evidence Act.

The court said the provision - that electronic records need to be certified by a person in a responsible official position for being admissible as evidence - should be applied only when such evidence is presented by a person in a position to produce such a certificate.

The clarification is bound to have an impact on criminal trials, where call records, CCTV footage, video recordings and CDs are increasingly being relied upon.

The court, while examining the issue of videorecording, was dealing with the question if electronic evidence could be admissible in court.

It considered the views of four senior advocates who had been appointed amici curiae to assist in interpreting the provision. PTI


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