Delhi HC directs the use of advanced technological methods for digital recording and storage of statements under Section 161 CrPC

Delhi High Court: A Division Bench comprising of Vipin Sanghi and I.S. Mehta, JJ. took notice of the status report filed by the Delhi Police in compliance of the previous order of the High Court.

In the report, Delhi Police disclosed that from 1 July 2017 to 30 June 2018, a total of 2,38,070 cases were registered and approximately 10 lakh witnesses were examined. It submitted that since IT is dynamic and existing technology becomes obsolete very soon, the storage device which is used now may not be operable while recording evidence before the Court and it may not be possible to retrieve the data at relevant time. Also, to successfully store and retrieve such data, an information retrieval system with huge capacity will have to be set up which require involvement of experts and might include issues of data security, hacking, ownership of clouds, etc.

The High Court considered the issues raised in the report and was of the view that with involvement of experts in the field, the said issues can be satisfactorily taken care of. The Court made following observations:

  • The recording of statements of witnesses and disclosure statements may be recorded by a body-wearable camera.
  • Digital recording of the proceedings under Section 161 CrPC will lend immense credibility to performance of the police.
  • Storing data in digital media will take far lesser space than manual records.
  • It is for the State to arrange the funds — either Government of NCT of Delhi or the Central Government — for installation of such technology.
  • The issues related to finance should not deter the State to implement the use of such technology in larger public interest and to preserve and advance the rule of law.

The Court issued notice regarding the same to the Commissioner, Delhi Police; Home Secretary, Delhi Government; and Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Union of India. The matter is further listed on 10 September 2018. [Ramesh Kumar v. State (NCT of Delhi), Crl.  A. No. 395 of 2000, dated 20-08-2018]

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