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The Meanderings Of Section 65B, Indian Evidence Act, 1872- A Poem

Radhika Kolluru
25 July 2020 4:10 AM GMT
The Meanderings Of Section 65B, Indian Evidence Act, 1872- A Poem
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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)

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