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The Supreme Court today said it is looking forward to examine whether videography of any crime scene can be mandatorily done and how it can become an admissable evidence in a court of law. The moves comes after the top court shed its cloak of opaqueness last year and sucessfully prodded the Centre to install CCTV cameras in courts to record judicial proceedings. It said the only point that needed to be decided is that instead of simplifying, the effort does not create any hindrance for the prosecution. "We have to see how the videography of a crime scene, which will become an electronic record, becomes an admissable evidence in the court of law without the requirement of certification under section 65(B) of Indian Evidence Act," a bench of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and U U Lalit said. The apex court had earlier framed the question for consideration that "whether the only mode of proof of electronic evidence is as per Section 65(A) read with Section 65(B) or whether the said provisions are additional permissible mode of proof of an electronic record." Section 65(B) of Indian Evidence Act says that electronic records need to be certified by a person occupying a responsible official position for being admissible as evidence in any court proceedings. Attorney General K K Venugopal, whose assistance was sought by the court said there were various verdicts of the apex court and different high courts which needed to be looked into before going into this aspect. "The point is that instead of simplifying, we do not want to end up creating hindrance for the prosecution," the bench said. The AG cited various verdicts of apex court including State of NCT Delhi versus Navjot Sandhu alias Afsan Guru, who had faced trial in the Parliament Attack case of 2001, a three-judge verdict of 2014 in the case of Anvar PV versus PK Basheer and Others and the 2016 judgement in the case of Harpal Singh versus Punjab. He said all of these cases related to electronic evidence and the requirement of certificates under 65 B of Indian Evidence Act and all these had to be looked into before delving into the issue. The bench cited an example where a person makes an online transaction with a bank and has an electronic receipt on his computer but the bank, or the other party, refuses to certify it, then can the receipt in the digital form be relied upon as a primary evidence. Senior advocate Meenakshi Arora, who was appointed amicus curiae (friend of court) to assist in the matter, said that a concept of 'viewership certificate' could be one of the solutions in such situations. The court said that several cases were coming up nowadays with regard to digital receipts of banking transactions and in some of them, banks or the States were the party, an issue which needed to be looked into. The bench said that similar matters have come up before it and it will be better if all of the cases are heard together and adjourned the hearing. On November 21 last year, the apex court had said it would examine whether electronic records like uncertified receipts pertaining to business transactions with a bank can be relied upon as evidence in judicial proceedings. It had said that currently, electronic evidences were increasingly being relied upon in judicial proceedings and it would see whether digital documents can be treated as primary or secondary evidence which are admissible only after certification. "Can a court brush aside electronic evidence saying it will not acknowledge as it is not certified, even if it is credible and reliable," the bench had said. "Do I need certification under 65(B) of Evidence Act or I can use it independently as evidence," the bench had asked. It had said these were questions the court needs to deliberate upon as another top court bench had passed a verdict in a case titled Sonu versus Haryana, upholding conviction for offences of kidnapping and murder. In that case, the apex court had rejected his ground of appeal that the Call Detail Records produced by the police as evidence were electronic documents and not certified under the Evidence Act and hence cannot be relied upon.
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