Nostalgic we are for the analogue days
hard copy missives with postal receipts
photos clicked on Kodak film
duly accompanied with negative sheets.
The digital revolution brought changes galore
emails and servers, hard disks and clouds.
Outside the vision of James F. Stephen,
the proving of CDs and printouts.
Then at the turn of the millennium
Section 65B made an appearance
(And that somewhat superfluous 65A)
in our neat statute of evidence
Brands, models, serial numbers,
Operating systems, we began to note.
"Don't forget to record the exact
designation of the IT bloke."
Some filed comprehensive certificates
Some compliances were but in form
And some of us tried to pretend that
pesky provision was not there at all.
Printouts of CDRs – inadmissible
if filed sans 65B certs.
But Navjot Sandhu ensured the accused
would come by their just desserts.
Two Mallu dudes fought over an election
"PK Basheer's speeches", said Anvar PV
"amount to election practices corrupt.
The recordings are copied on CD."
"Without 65Bs, the CDs are unproved,"
Three brother judges were in agreement
And to that extent they overruled
the landmark case of Parliament
The prosecutors then ran for cover
All evidence was in jeopardy!
Without 65Bs how would they prove
interceptions, CDRs, CCTV?
Then Kundan Singh provided a way
for ones whose paperwork was tardy:
"Produce the 65B at time of exhibition,
no need to prepare contemporaneously."
Sonu @ Amar provided yet an escape
for folks still failing the 65B drill:
"If opponent didn't object when the copy was led,
he can't later shout 'inadmissible.'"
Then came along Shafhi Mohammad
and once more it was all up in air
Shoulda? Coulda? Woulda? we speculated
while the other side cried, "not fair!"
Now it's A.P. Khotkar - election dispute again!
Another three judges give clarity:
"For electronic evidence to be admissible,
a 65B certificate is mandatory."
Hope you liked this flippant tale
'bout the dance of Section 65B
Troubling counsel both young and wise
from year Two Thousand to Twenty-twenty.
(Radhika Kolluru is an Advocate practicing in the High Court of Delhi)