Supreme Court has clarified that it is not mandatory to come with a certificate for every electronic evidence. The court observed that certificate is not required to produce electronic evidence such as disks, pen drives, etc., if the original device can be produced in court.
A three-judge bench headed by Justice Rohinton F Nariman along with Justice Ravindra Bhat and Justice V Ramasubramanian has clarified the law, Section 65B (4) of the Evidence Act and said that a certificate is not a must in each and every case before electronic evidence can be produced in a court of law.
“If a person can step in the witness box with the original device, such as a laptop or a phone, there is no pre-requisite of a certificate under Section 65B(4) of the Act. The authenticity of the electronic evidence can be proved in the witness box with production of the originator of the electronic evidence,” stated the bench.
“About such evidence being stored in a network or in a server that cannot be produced in a court, the certificate will be required,” said the bench.
The top court has also stated that appropriate rules need to be framed under the Information Technology Act for recording and preservation of the meta-data given the fact that more and more electronic evidence is likely to be involved in criminal trials.