In a significant ruling, the Supreme Court has allowed compact discs (CDs) to be treated as a document under the law and said that litigants should be allowed to prove or disprove such electronic proof in judicial proceedings.
The apex court, without deciding on the authenticity of a CD in a case, permitted accused Shamsher Singh Verma to bring on record the taped telephonic conversations to prove his innocence in a child sexual abuse case.
A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and P C Pant passed the order while setting aside the verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had agreed with the trial court order denying Verma’s plea to produce recorded telephonic conversation between his wife and son with the girl’s father to prove his point that there was a property dispute between the two families.
The accused had alleged implication in the case due to the property dispute between the families.
The apex court did not go into the authenticity of the taped conversations but asked the trial court to allow Verma to bring the CD on record and prove its admissibility in the proceedings. The courts had refused to consider the CD.
“Without expressing any opinion as to the final merits of the case, this appeal is allowed and the orders passed by the trial court and the HC are set aside. The application (for placing on record the compact disc and getting it examined by forensic laboratory) shall stand allowed,” it said.
The court also said that the accused shall not be entitled to seek bail on the ground of delay of trial.
“We are of the view that the courts below have erred in law in not allowing the application of the defence to play the compact disc relating to conversation between father of the victim and son and wife of the appellant (accused) regarding alleged property dispute…
“In our opinion, the courts below have erred in law in rejecting the application to play the compact disc in question to enable the public prosecutor to admit or deny, and to get it sent to the forensic science laboratory by the defence,” the court said.
Shamsher Singh Verma, facing sexual abuse case, had pleaded in the trial court to consider the CD and get it tested in a forensic lab and match it with the voice samples of the persons concerned.