Want to Know About Admissibility of Electronic Evidence: Dig In Here!

MailXaminer | March 18th, 2019 | Forensics

Technology is improving day by day to benefit mankind. However, the world is a combination of good and bad. There are many people who use technology for crime and other illegal activities. Nowadays, email is one of the popular media to commit crimes. In cases of digital crime, Forensic Investigators examine the whole case involving all the emails, electronic devices etc. & crave electronic records as evidence from them. In this blog, we are discussing the admissibility of electronic evidence in court to fighting against high-tech crime based on the law section 65 B and win the case. To know more about acceptance and relevancy of digital evidence in court, read the below section.

When it comes to electronic contracts, Most of the electronic contracts are taken place through emails so the proof of the transactions actually taking place is present only in email data which are mostly signed with electronic signatures. Moreover, during the legal proceedings the prosecution can use electronic evidence in court to prove the guilt of the accused. The acceptance of electronic records as evidence in court of law has come gradually over a period of time. Moreover, it has also lead to many changes in the fundamental principles of the law of evidence.

 

In the upcoming section, we are going to show the shift that has occurred with respect to the admissibility of electronic evidence to fighting against high-tech crime by two vital rules of evidence that are: Hearsay and Primary Evidence. As compared to the earlier position of the law in this respect, the reason for the subsequent change can be the amendment to law and some possible effects of such amendment.

Admissible and Relevant Evidence in Court

From a long time, the law of evidence has been guided by the rule of ‘best evidence’ which is considered to have two basic models that are: Avoidance of hearsay and production of primary evidence. It is believed that these rules weed out infirm evidence and produce only that which cannot be doubted.

Hearsay: Hearsay is an out of court statement used to prove the truth. It can be defined as “all the evidence which does not derive its value from the credit given to the witness himself, but which depends on the truthfulness and competence of some other person”. For example: If a person A is chosen to testify in court. And B told him that he saw that C stabbing the person D. Hence A’s answer will be relay on the out court statement made by B, if person B is unavailable for cross-examination so it will be hearsay.

Direct Evidence: Direct evidence is considered when a person has seen the act happening with his/her own eyes. In the above case the person B’s evidence is direct evidence since he saw the act by his own eyes.

Primary Evidence: It is the original document being itself produced for inspection by the court. It can be any matter described by means of letters, markers or images for the purpose of recording that matters. The copy of primary will not be the primary since it is not the original hence the copy of primary evidence is consider as the secondary evidence in the court.

From the above section we can understand that electronic data are also admissible as evidence in court. As long as the evidence is direct and not hearsay in nature or is primary evidence then the court may accept it. Moreover, the fact being proved through such evidence proves the existence or non-existence of the fact in issues to be portable in the past, present or future.

Laws to Prove Admissibility of Electronic Evidence in Court

During the investigation of digital crimes the electronic evidence play an important role to prove the crime and. In the bellow section, we are going to describe the main law that plays a vital role in the admissibility of digital evidence in court or to make electronic evidence admissible in court.

    • 65A and 65B: Introduced to the Evidence Act under the Second Schedule to the IT Act.

 

    • Section 5 of the Evidence: It provides that the evidence can be given regarding only facts that are at issue or of relevance.

 

    • Section 136: It empowers a judge to decide on the admissibility of electronic records as evidence in court. Moreover, Section 65A provides that the content of electronic records may be proved in accordance with the provisions of Section 65B.

 

  • According to Section 65B anything present in the Evidence Act, any information contained in an electronic record is deemed to be a document and is admissible as evidence in court without further proof of the original production. However, the major part is the conditions set out in Section 65B(2) to (5) are satisfied.

Impact of Considering Electronic Evidence as Primary & Direct

  • Difference between Primary and Secondary Evidence is Blurred

By bringing all types of computer evidences in the category of primary evidence, the statute has blurred the difference between primary and secondary forms of evidence. However, the difference is still expected to apply with respect to other forms of documents, and the exception has been created with respect to computers. Because of the complicated nature of computer evidence like not easily producible in tangible form.

  • Making Criminal Prosecution Easier

Considering the terrorism factor in the world, the involvement of terrorists using highly sophisticated technology to carry out attacks. The admissibility of electronic evidence as direct and primary evidence in the court make the criminal prosecution more easier. That will help to prove guilty of accused much better than having looking for traditional

  • Risk of Manipulation

The statute has overlooked the risk of manipulation while allowing all forms of computer output to be admissible as primary evidence. Tampering with the electronic evidence is not difficult tasks and miscreants may find it easy to alter the records which are to be submitted in court. However, the solution to this problem is itself the technology. Different ways are developed with the help of Computer Forensics to find a way of cross-checking whether an electronic record/evidence has been tampered with, when and in what manner to make the electronic evidence admissible in court.

  • Opening Potential Floodgates

Nowadays, computers are most widely using the gadget in the world. A lot of gadgets involve computer chips in their functioning other than computers. Thus, according to the word of the law, any device involving a computer chip is admissible as evidence in court.

These are some of the main impacts of accepting electronic records as evidence in court during the court proceeding of the criminal cases. The admissibility of electronic evidence in court to fighting against high-tech crime brings a large shift in the digital crime investigation field. Through the direct acceptance of digital evidence in court, it simplifies the crime investigation process and court procedure.

Final Words

In the above section we discussed about the admissibility of electronic evidence in court during the criminal proceedings. The availability of electronic evidence has become a necessity in most of the cases to establish the guilt of the accused or the liability of the defendant. The technology has proved itself to be the solution to deal with crimes caused due to digital devices, emails etc. With Computer Forensics it has become easy to identify any changes took place with the electronic evidence. Now digital evidence in court also considered as the primary evidence during the court proceeding.