Friday, 29 May 2020

When court can rely on Electronic evidence tendered in the form of hard disk,CD and DVD without certificate under S 65B of Evidence Act?

Ourselves witnessing CCTV footages from the Hard Disk, CD and DVD:

114. The Hard Disk at Exhibit 1 contained in the DVR is available on the record of the Sessions Court. The witnesses PW 1 Raghuveer, PW 2, Raju, PW 3 Sitaram, PW 4 Pramod, PW 5 Kailash, PW 14 Shubham, PW 16 Rupali and PW 18 Vitthal were confronted with the relevant portion in CD-'X' and Annexure DVD CY-66/13 (Article 18A) during the course of their examination-in-chief. We asked the learned counsels appearing for the parties as to whether there is legal impediment for this Court to view the footages from the Hard Disk, DVD and CD, and their response is that there cannot be. In fact, all of them expressed that the Sessions Court should have got the entire system produced on record assembled and the witnesses should have been confronted with the footages recorded in the Hard Disk at Exhibit 1. We, therefore, called upon the Technicians from the establishment in the High Court in our Chamber. We opened the seals of the articles sealed and produced. We got it assembled and have ourselves viewed the footages contained in the Hard Disk at Exhibit 1, which was connected to the DVR, CD-marked as 'X' and DVD at Article 18A.

115. After witnessing the footages in the Hard Disk, CD and DVD, we neither find any difference nor any discontinuity or insertions in the Hard Disk at Exhibit 1. On the contrary, we find that the recordings in the Hard Disk and the DVD and CD are in the same continuity and corresponds with each other. We find that the DVD at Article 18A and CD-'X' are the true and genuine copies of the footages in camera Nos. 1, 2 and 7 in CCTV recorded in the Hard Disk at Exhibit 1. We also find that the entire electronic evidence produced on record is not only consistent with each other, but also consistent with the oral evidence of the witnesses. Probably for this reason, there was no insistence from the defence for showing the footages from the Hard Disk, which is a primary electronic evidence.

116. We do not find it necessary to consider the question as to the admissibility of secondary evidence produced by a person not in power and possession of the CCTV system. We find that the primary as well as secondary evidence of electronic record is produced, and that the secondary evidence is a true and genuine copy of relevant primary evidence available on record. In the absence of any objection or cross-examination of the witnesses, PW 1 Raghuveer, PW 2 Raju, PW 3 Sitaram, PW 4 Pramod, PW 5 Kailash, PW 14 Shubham, PW 16 Rupali and PW 18 Vitthal, on the aspect of CD-marked as 'X' and DVD at Article 18A not being the true and genuine copies of the footages contained in the Hard Disk at Exhibit 1, in our view, the provision of Section 65-B of the Evidence Act is not at all attracted so as to make the electronic evidence in the form of CD and DVD inadmissible to establish the incident and the identity of the assailants. We, therefore, hold that the electronic evidence tendered in the form of Hard Disk at Exhibit 1, CD-'X' and DVD-Article 18A is admissible in the facts and circumstances of the case without a certificate under Section 65-B of the Evidence Act. We, therefore, accept such a view taken by the Sessions Court to be legal, correct and proper.

IN THE HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY (NAGPUR BENCH)

Criminal Appeal Nos. 254, 255, 393 of 2015, 121, 180 and 181 of 2016

Decided On: 05.06.2018

 Bhupesh Tichkule Vs. The State of Maharashtra


Hon'ble Judges/Coram:
R.K. Deshpande and M.G. Giratkar, JJ.

Citation:  MANU/MH/1147/2018.
Read full judgment here: Click here
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