Thursday, February 25, 2021
Monday, February 8, 2021
Friday, January 15, 2021
As a cyber lawyer, one of the questions I get asked frequently is whether Whatsapp messages can be adduced as evidence in court. Some clients think that because of its “informal” nature, Whatsapp messages would not be admissible as evidence. However, this assumption is inaccurate since there have been many instances where the Indian Courts have allowed Whatsapp messages to be adduced as evidence.
In January 2021, the Punjab and Haryana High Court had observed that WhatsApp messages will have no evidentiary value unless they are certified as per Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act (Rakesh Kumar Singla vs Union Of India) .
In Ambalal Sarabhai Enterprise Ltd v KS Infraspace LLP Limited and Another, the Supreme Court, while hearing a petition challenging an injunction order made a reference to the Whatsapp chats produced as evidence in the case. "The WhatsApp messages which are virtual verbal communications are matters of evidence with regard to their meaning and its contents to be proved during the trial by evidence - in - chief and cross-examination. The emails and WhatsApp messages will have to be read and understood cumulatively to decipher whether there was a concluded contract or not".
There is a recent order of the Gujarat High Court as well, which referred to Whatsapp conversations to form a prima facie opinion regarding grant of bail (Chirag Dipakbhai Sulekha vs State Of Gujarat)
The Delhi High Court in a case has held that a Whatsapp forward message, without an unknown source, cannot be treated as evidence (National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms v Union of India). The Court held that such a forwarded message, without its original, cannot be regarded as a 'document' under the Evidence Act.
SBI Cards & Payments Services Pvt Ltd. Versus Rohidas Jadhav Hon. Justice Patel of Bombay High Court was of opinion that "The Respondent to the Execution Application has been evading service of this Notice under Order XXI Rule 22 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908. He was served by an authorized officer of the Claimant, Ms Fatema Kalyanwala by sending a PDF and message to his mobile number as a WhatsApp message. For the purposes of service of Notice under Order XXI Rule 22, I will accept this. I do so because the icon indicators clearly show that not only was the message and its attachment delivered to the Respondent’s number but that both were opened." A Bluetick was considered as acknowledgment.
The NCLAT in the matter of Bhandari Hosiery Exports Ltd. & Ors vs. In-Time Garments Pvt. Ltd., Company Appeal (AT) (Insolvency) No. 143 of 2019, decided on 1 March 2019, took on record a text message sent over WhatsApp messenger by a corporate debtor to an operational creditor complaining about the quality of goods supplied. On basis of this WhatsApp message, the Court held that there was a ‘pre-existing dispute’ under Section 9 of the Code and accordingly Insolvency Application could not be admitted on account of a pre-existence dispute.
Moreover, Hon. Supreme Court of India, vide Order dated 10.07.2020 in Suo Moto Writ Petition (C) No. 3/2020 in 'Re: Cognizance For Extension of Limitation' had allowed the service of summons via electronic mode including WhatsApp.
Friday, January 8, 2021
Banks should compensate account holder if customer loses money due to online fraud: National Consumer Court
Monday, December 28, 2020
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
– Systems that “think” like humans (e.g., artificial neural networks).
– Systems that act like humans (e.g., robots).
Sunday, November 29, 2020
The first information report is a report giving information of the commission of a cognizable crime,
which may be made by the complainant (the term “Complainant” has been used herein the popular
sense) or by any other person knowing about the commission of such an offence. It is intended to set
the criminal law in motion.
A First Information Report is the most important document and forms the basis of the case for
prosecution. The word „First Information Report‟ has not been defined in the CrPC. By practice it has
come to mean the information disclosing commission of a cognizable offence and recorded under Sec.
The principal object of FIR is only to make a complaint to the police officer to set the criminal law in
motion while the secondary objective is to obtain early information of an alleged criminal activity and
to record the circumstances before there is time for such circumstances to be forgotten or embellished.
FIR: Its Characteristics:
¾ It must disclose the commission of a cognizable offence.
¾ It should be given to the OC of a police station.
¾ It should be earliest in point of time.
FIR: Other Features:
¾ It may be in writing.
¾ If given orally, it shall be reduced to writing by the police officer.
¾ It should be signed by the person giving it.
¾ A copy of it should be delivered to the informant free of cost.
¾ It may be made by any person, whether or not he has the first-hand knowledge about the crime
reported except in certain specified cases.
¾ Delay, if any, in making the FIR should be explained in the FIR itself.
¾ Strictly speaking, the Telegrams and telephonic messages cannot be treated as FIR, because
they are not given in writing duly signed by the informant nor they are reduced to writing by the
police and read over to the informant. Moreover, there is hardly any guarantee as to their
genuineness / authenticity.
¾ Refusal by Informant to sign the FIR is punishable u/s 180 IPC.
FIR: Its Basic Objects:
¾ To set the criminal law in motion through the agency of the police.
¾ To furnish to the police early information of an alleged criminal activity.
Value of the FIR:
¾ It is valuable because it gives the earliest version of the occurrence.
¾ It is not a substantive piece of evidence.
¾ It can be used for the purpose of corroboration u/s 157 Indian Evidence Act.
¾ It should relate to the commission of a cognizable offence.
¾ It should be the information which set the police on their investigation.
¾ It should be given in writing or should be reduced to writing.
¾ It should have been read over to the person who made it and signed by such person.
¾ It should be entered in a book kept for the purpose.
Disposal of FIR:
An FIR once started, shall on no account be cancelled by the officer in charge, nor it is permissible for
a Magistrate or any other Police officer to do so. Recording of FIR means starting of an investigation
of a cognizable case which can only be concluded in any of the following ways:
¾ By refusing investigation under sec.157 (b) CrPC
¾ By transferring it to a different police station on question of jurisdiction.
¾ By submitting a final report after such an investigation or,
¾ By submitting a charge sheet after an investigation.
Value of FIR:
The FIR is not a substantive piece of evidence. It is relevant in judging the veracity of the prosecution
case and value to be attached to it depends on the facts of each case. It is used either to corroborate or
to contradict the oral evidence of the maker of the FIR during trial of the case.
Quashing of FIR:
FIR drawn up on the basis of information which does not disclose any offence or discloses only non-
cognizable offence can be quashed by the High Court by invoking power under Art. 226 of the
Constitution of India or under Sec. 482 CrPC.
Concept of ZERO FIR:
“There is a concept of “Zero-FIR”. It means that a FIR can be filed in any police station
(i.e.irrespective of place of incident/jurisdiction) and the same can be later transferred to the
appropriate Police Station.
There are two rulings of the Supreme Court in Satvinder Kaur vs Govt. of NCT of Delhi on 5/10/1999
(AIR 1999, 1031) and in Ramesh Kumari vs Govt. of NCT Delhi on 21/2/2006. In the former case, the
Court held that at the stage of investigation, the material collected by an investigating officer cannot
be judicially scrutinized for arriving at a conclusion that the police station officer of particular police
station would not have territorial jurisdiction. That apart, section 156(2) of the CrPC contains an
embargo that no proceeding of a police officer shall be challenged on the ground that he has no
territorial power to investigate the case. In the latter case, the Court held that a police officer is duty
bound to register the case on the basis of such information disclosing a cognizable offence u/s 154(1)
of the CrPC. The legal position stated above expects that the police shall register an FIR upon receipt
of information of the commission of a cognizable offence. Further, if after registration of FIR, upon
investigation, it is found that the subject matter relates to the jurisdiction of some other police station,
the FIR may be appropriately transferred to the police station in which the case falls. Moreover, if at
the time of registration of FIR, it becomes apparent that the crime was committed outside the
jurisdiction of the police station, the police should be appropriately instructed to register a „Zero‟ FIR,
ensure that the FIR is transferred to the concerned police station u/s 170 of the CrPC. It should be
clearly stated that the delay over the determination of the jurisdiction leads to avoidable wastage of
time which impacts on the victim and also leads to offenders getting an opportunity to slip from the
clutches of the law.
Some Important Rulings related to FIR
1. Criteria for registering First Information Report:
The condition, which is sine qua non for recording FIR is that there must be an information and
that information must disclose cognizable offence. It is, therefore, clear that if any information
disclosing a cognizable offence is laid before officer in charge of a Police Station transpiring the
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