Validity of Whatsapp Messages in The Court of Law as evidence

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Validity of Whatsapp Messages in The Court of Law as evidence.

Written By:- Hrishika Rawat 

In today’s world, most of us use electronic communication to exchange commercial transactions such as banking, insurance, telecommunications, and so on. Website dates, communications exchanged in social networking websites like Facebook, Instagram, and instant messaging applications like WhatsApp, Telegram, and others, as well as via email, SMS/MMS, and other methods, are all examples of electronic evidence. According to section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act, WhatsApp messages and other electronic means are admissible in court. To back up this claim, the researcher defines the term “electronic record” as defined by section 2(1)(t) of the Information Technology Act of 2000. Then with the help of various case laws the researcher shows how WhatsApp messages are admitted by the court as evidence.

Introduction

The usage of WhatsApp by corporate employees as a communication tool is quickly rising. WhatsApp is considered the finest messaging tool for employees to collaborate closely with colleagues and clients. As the usage of social media platforms such as WhatsApp has grown, the court has begun to accept instant messages and photographs sent on these platforms as evidence in both criminal and civil cases. As the usage of social media platforms such as WhatsApp has grown, the court has begun to accept instant messages and photographs sent on these platforms as evidence in both criminal and civil cases.

However, there are some specific guidelines that must be followed when using WhatsApp content as evidence in court. WhatsApp messages are treated as electronic records in Indian courts and are admissible as a traditional document. There are certain requirements that must be met in order for WhatsApp communications to be admitted as evidence:

  1. The messages must be received by the receiver.
  2. The phone must be in regular use. It should not be damaged.
  3. The sender must have intention to send that messages.

Because everything is becoming digital these days, the Indian Parliament passed the Information and Technology Act, 2000 to expand the concept of an electronic record in order to make the Indian judiciary more modern and techno-friendly.

Section 65 B Of Indian Evidence Act

The Information Technology Act of 2000 added Section 65(B) to the Indian Evidence Act, allowing electronic evidence to be considered acceptable in court. Advocates and judges see this part as the hardest topic to grasp. This part is regarded as the most challenging technological idea for lawyers and judges, as they approached it with the goal of Secondary Electronic Evidence”.

They contrast the requirements of this section with those of Section 65(B) of the Indian Evidence Act, which deals with supplementary documentary evidence. In the month of October of 2000, legislation regulating the legality of this provision was passed. In the case of Suhas Katti v. State of Tamil Nadu, AMM court Egmore was the first to utilize this provision.

Position In Indian Court

SMS/MMS, WhatsApp texts, and other electronic evidence have all been proven to be completely acceptable in Indian courts. The Supreme Court of India decided in State of Delhi v. Mohd. Afzal and others, often known as the Afzal Guru case, that electronic evidence is lawfully admissible in a court of law. The Supreme Court also dispelled any doubts about the evidence’s abuse and accuracy as a result of technological faults. The Supreme Court must request a certificate signed by the individual who is using the computer resource and creating the data. That person must take full responsibility for the authenticity of such a document. However, the burden of proof is on that person who is challenging the electronic data.

Cases Where Whatsapp Chats Are Used As Evidence In The Court Of Law :

Case: Forse v. Secarma

This lawsuit has a significant number of defendants (about 100). There were a total of 28 people charged with conspiring to quit one firm in the group and join a competitor. When the claim was filed, there were 28 resignations, accounting for over half of Secarma’s total workforce. Later that year, Secarma, a cyber-security firm, filed a lawsuit against its former workers and their new employers “Xcina”. Secarma demanded an interim springboard injunction from the High Court.    

Case: Wells and Solari v. PNC Global Logistics

Paul Wells and Roberto Solari were two former PNC Global Logistics executives who were fired after they used WhatsApp to communicate pornographic images and abusive comments about female colleagues. Both individuals filed a lawsuit against PNC Global Logistics, alleging that the real cause for their termination was the loss of business shares worth GBP 150,000  each. 

A Valid And Enforceable Agreement Can Be Made Via. Whatsapp :

The magistrate court said in the case of Shamsudin Bin Mohd. Yosuf v. Suhaila binti Suleiman that even though the parties communicate mostly through WhatsApp, there was an oral legal agreement that is enforceable by law.

Whatsapp Messages As Documentary Evidence:

 In the case of Mok Yii chek v. Sovo sdn Bhd, the plaintiff presented several printouts of emails and WhatsApp chats to back up his claim for breach of contract against the defendant. The court ruled that printouts of WhatsApp chats fall within the definition of “document” under the Indian Evidence Act, 1950, and may only be introduced in court if:

  1. he party who wishes to produce WhatsApp messages as evidence in the court then burden of proof is on the plaintiff that these WhatsApp messages are relevant to their claim.
  2. The messages must satisfy the procedural requirements for a documentary evidence produced by computers.

Conclusion

Most corporate meetings are held on an online platform, and the contents of the meetings are shared among employees using instant messaging services such as WhatsApp, Telegram, and others. India’s legal system is likewise growing more technologically advanced by the day. Courts have accepted online messaging applications like WhatsApp, Telegram, and others as legal evidence. There are a number of issues that have arisen in relation to certificate authorship. WhatsApp communications are never entered as major evidence in court; instead, they are admitted as secondary evidence.  Even after twenty years after the Information Technology Act came into force in the year 2000, the admissibility of electronic evidence in court still has a few difficulties, but we may expect some important advances and revisions in relation to these loopholes.

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