The Punjab and Haryana High Court held that there is no evidentiary value of Whatsapp Messages unless a Certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act is obtained.
Mr. Sanjay Vashisth appearing on behalf of the Narcotics Bureau, submitted that almost 57,000 tablets of tramadol hydrochloride (100 mg) were recovered, which amounted to commercial quantities. A co-accused admitted to having sent the consignment to another person at the petitioner’s behest and was totally unaware of the contents of the parcel.
The screenshots of WhatsApp messages, available with the NCB, would connect the petitioner with the contraband. A message showed transfer of some amount by the petitioner to the account belonging to the husband of the co-accused, Mr. Vashisth added.
It was also argued that other persons were also involved in the sale and purchase of the contraband as evident from the WhatsApp messages.
On the other hand, Senior Advocate RS Rai on the behalf of petitioner submitted that the petitioner had been implicated on the basis of the disclosure statement by the co-accused as well as his own statement, which could not be relied upon.
Mr. Rai also argued that the petitioner had been implicated on the basis of the disclosure statement by the co-accused and his own statement. Such a statement could not be relied upon.
A single-judge Bench of Justice Jaishree Thakur ruled that the Whatsapp messages would be of no evidentiary value without a Section 65B certificate.
Section 65B requires electronic records to be certified by a person occupying a responsible official position for the same to be admitted as evidence in court proceedings.
The court while relying on the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in the matter of Arjun Panditrao Khotkar Vs. Kailash Kushanrao Gorantyal and others have held that a certificate Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act is required when reliance is being placed upon electronic records. Needless to say that the Narcotics Bureau will always be at liberty to rely upon the WhatsApp messages after due compliance with provisions of Section 65-B.Subscribe Taxscan AdFree to view the Judgment