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ABSTRACT This article basically focuses on the meaning and concept of electronic evidences. Further, explanation of the principles of the Indian Evidence Act with amendments with respect to electronic evidences is given. It also represents a comprehensive review of Supreme Court’s decisions in regard to the same. At last, the safeguards which need to be adopted by the Indian Judiciary in dealing with electronic evidences are discussed.
INTRODUCTION The 21st century has seen a technological revolution that fascinates not only India but the whole world. The proliferation of computers and Information Technology has influenced the society. Information Technology created a cyber space and is playing a significant role in different skills like government sectors, communication, services, etc. This increased dependence on electronic correspondence, data capacity and online enterprise has necessitated amendments to Indian Law, to incorporate the provisions on digital evidence.
The Information Technology Act 2000 was amended to allow for the admissibility of electronic evidence based on the United Nation’s Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) model law on electronic commerce. Digital evidence is also incorporated in the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. It has left its impression on Indian Courts with respect to relying on online data with transition to the rule.
MEANING OF ELECTRONIC EVIDENCE
The kind of proof we handle is presently differently as ‘advanced evidence’, ‘electronic evidence’ or ‘digital evidence’. Electronic evidence is probative information transmitted or stored digitally and a party to a judicial dispute in court can use the same during the trial. During the past few decades, the use of digital evidence has increased drastically. Courts permit the use of digital evidence such as messages, reports, text documentaries, computer memory material, global monitor positioning system, digital videos, sound recordings, etc.
Pollitt, the renowned scholar of cyber laws opined that electronic or digital evidence is any probative information stored or transmitted in digital form, i.e., stored in computer hard disk, floppy disks, optical disks, handheld devices, emails, memory cards, network services, etc.
Further, Digital evidence as defined by Prashant Mali cyber security expert, is any information of probative value that is stored or transmitted in binary form. Evidence is not confined to that found on computers but may also extend to include evidence on digital devices such as electronic multimedia device or telecommunication.
Electronic evidence is becoming essential form of evidence that must be accurate, authentic and complete in presentation. It must be in consonance with regard to admissibility.
Electronic Evidence and Indian Evidence Act Certain changes were made in Indian Evidence Act, 1872 to grant legal recognition to electronic record and evidence submitted in form of electronic records. These were made to make it more complementary with the changing times. Following are some of the amendments:-
The definition of 'documentary evidence' has been amended to include all documents, including electronic records produced for inspection by the court. Section