The Punjab and Haryana High Court has observed that WhatsApp messages will have no evidentiary value unless they are certified as per Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act (Rakesh Kumar Singla vs Union Of India).
This observation was made by a single bench of Justice Jaishree Thakur while deciding a bail application in a case under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS Act).
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) was relying on certain alleged WhatsApp chats of the accused to oppose the bail application. And submitted that this is showing the connection between the petitioner and the contraband.
Then, the Court asked NCB if such messages are accompanied with Section 65B certificate and found out that nothing so was there.
Then, the Court observed that a certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act is required when reliance is being placed upon electronic record. Therefore, the said message would be of no evidentiary value as on date.
Finally, the Court granted bail to the accused stating that the Narcotics Bureau would always be at liberty to rely upon the WhatsApp messages after due compliance of provisions of Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act.