Ruling of Navjot Sandhu case to the extent of admissibility of electronic evidence as secondary evidence, overruled

Supreme Court: Deciding the admissibility of the secondary evidence pertaining to electronic evidence, the 3-judge bench of R.M. Lodha, CJ and Kurian Joseph and R.F. Nariman, JJ overruled the ruling of the Court in State (NCT of Delhi) v. Navjot Sandhu, (2005) 11 SCC 600  (Navjot Sandhu Case) to that extent. The bench noted that the Court in the aforementioned case omitted to take note of Sections 59 and 65A of the Evidence Act, 1872 and hence erred in holding that that irrespective of the compliance with the requirements of Section 65B, which is a special provision dealing with admissibility of the electronic record, there is no bar in adducing secondary evidence, under Sections 63 and 65 of the Evidence Act, of an electronic record.

Overruling the legal position as to electronic evidence as laid down in Navjot Sandhu Case, the Court, applying the principle of generalia specialibus non derogant (special law will always prevail over the general law), held that the evidence relating to electronic record being a special provision, the general law on secondary evidence under Section 63 read with Section 65 of the Evidence Act shall yield to the same.

In the present case where appellant and respondent were represented by Vivek Chib and Kapil Sibal, respectively, the appellant sought the set aside the election of the elected candidate on account of corrupt practice and produced CDs which were made after recording the speeches, songs and announcements using other instruments and by feeding them into a computer. It was held that since the CDs produced were not certified, the same were not admissible as secondary evidence. Anvar P.V. v. P.K. Basheer, Civil Appeal No. 4226 of 2012, decided on 18.09.2014

To read the full judgment, refer SCCOnLine

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