Authenticating Electronic Evidence: §65B, Indian Evidence Act, 1872
Volume 8 Issue 1-2 (2015)
§§65A and 65B of the Evidence Act, 1872 were introduced in 2000 with the aim to lay down admissibility standards for electronic evidence in courts. However, this attempt at standardization has not seen much success and there has been significant divergence in practice in courts across India. Recently the Supreme Court in P.V. Anvar v. P.K. Basheer attempted to address this problem by explaining and laying down the requirements under §65B.
This paper argues that while the Supreme Court in Anvar may have been well-intended, it has misstated the position of law. First, the provision has been read in a manner that contravenes principles of statutory interpretation. Second, the Supreme Court has improperly restricted the possible methods of authentication to only ‘certi cates’ under §65B(4). At the same time, there are problems with how §65B, as originally drafted, attempts to offset questions of accuracy and reliability. Accordingly, this paper, on an examination of practices followed by other common law countries, recommends the adoption of an entirely different model of authenticating electronic evidence.