Sunday 30 June 2024

How to prove call details record(CDR) in court as per Indian law?

 Proving Call Detail Records (CDRs) in court under Indian law involves several steps to ensure their admissibility and authenticity as evidence. Here’s a step-by-step guide to the process:

1. Obtain the CDRs Legally:

  • Legal Procedure: CDRs must be obtained through a legal procedure, typically by a court order or by a request from a law enforcement agency during an investigation.
  • Authority: The request for CDRs should be made by an authorized officer, usually not below the rank of Superintendent of Police, and should be sanctioned by a competent authority as per the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

2. Ensure Authenticity:

  • Certification: The CDRs must be certified by the concerned telecom service provider. This is often done through a certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which deals with electronic records.
  • Digital Signature: The CDRs should ideally be digitally signed by the service provider to ensure authenticity.

3. Produce Section 65B Certificate:

  • Section 65B Certificate: This certificate is crucial as it validates the electronic records. It must state that the CDRs were produced by a computer during regular use and that the information contained in the records is derived from the information fed into the computer in the usual course of activities.
  • Details in Certificate: The certificate should contain details about the computer system, the method of data production, and the process of producing the records to establish reliability.

4. Examine the Witnesses:

  • Witness Testimony: Present witnesses who can testify about the procedures followed to obtain and store the CDRs. This may include law enforcement officers who requested the records and employees of the telecom company who produced the records.
  • Cross-Examination: The witnesses must be available for cross-examination by the opposing party.

5. Presenting CDRs in Court:

  • Submit Original or Certified Copies: Submit either the original CDRs or certified copies along with the Section 65B certificate.
  • Explain Relevance: Clearly explain the relevance of the CDRs to the case and how they support the facts being presented.

6. Corroborative Evidence:

  • Supporting Evidence: Wherever possible, corroborate the CDRs with additional evidence such as witness statements, forensic evidence, or other documentary evidence to strengthen the case.

7. Ensure Data Integrity:

  • Chain of Custody: Maintain a clear chain of custody for the CDRs to demonstrate that they have not been tampered with from the time they were obtained until they are presented in court.
  • Data Verification: Use technical experts, if necessary, to verify the integrity and authenticity of the data.

Relevant Legal Provisions:

  • Indian Telegraph Act, 1885: Section 5(2) provides the legal framework for interception of messages in certain situations.
  • Information Technology Act, 2000: Section 69 deals with the powers to intercept, monitor, or decrypt any information through any computer resource.
  • Indian Evidence Act, 1872: Section 65B deals with the admissibility of electronic records.

Case Law:

  • Anvar P.V. vs. P.K. Basheer (2014) 10 SCC 473: This landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India outlines the requirements for the admissibility of electronic evidence, including CDRs, under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act.

By following these steps and ensuring compliance with the legal provisions and guidelines, CDRs can be effectively presented and proved in an Indian court of law.

In short

  • Legal Acquisition: Ensure that the Call Detail Records (CDRs) are obtained legally through a court order or by a request from a law enforcement agency, authorized under the Indian Telegraph Act, 1885, and the Information Technology Act, 2000.

  • Section 65B Certificate: Obtain a certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, from the telecom service provider, verifying the authenticity of the CDRs as electronic records, detailing how the records were produced and confirming their accuracy.

  • Witness Testimony: Present witnesses, such as law enforcement officers and telecom company employees, who can testify about the procedure followed to obtain and handle the CDRs, ensuring their availability for cross-examination.

  • Chain of Custody: Maintain a clear chain of custody from the time the CDRs were obtained until they are presented in court to demonstrate that they have not been tampered with.

  • Corroborative Evidence: Support the CDRs with additional evidence, such as witness statements and forensic evidence, to strengthen their relevance and reliability in proving the case.

  • Procedure in the court

  • CDR is an electronic record (computer print out) of the data in server of telecom companies. S 65B (1) of evidence Act provides such an electronic record is  admissible if it is enclosed with the certificate U/S 65B (2) read with S (4) of said Act. Thus in general the nodal officer from such telecom company  has an access to the  data of server with unique id. He would take printouts and provide in 13 column CDR form to investigating adency. He can enclose his 65B/4 certificate with print of CDR. He can be called into the court to prove the certificate and to state that he has retrieved  CDR  as per above procedure. This evidence with SDR[ subscriber details report ]will link the incriminating cell numbers of communicators with call details in CDR to prove incriminating contacts. Also the presence of communicators at certain relevant places can  be proved by tower locations found in CDR as per the tower ids.

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