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Can E-mail Be Used As Evidence Under Law?

Electronic mail (E-Mail) is the exchange of computer-stored messages by telecommunication.

Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 talks about what can constitute valid evidence in the court of law. Under clause 2 of the Section, it has been stated as “All documents produced for the inspection of the court.” It did not include an electronic form of evidence. But the introduction of the Information Technology Act, 2000 has led to the amendments in the Indian evidence act to include electronic records in the definition of ‘evidence’ of section 3(a) - “All documents including electronic records produced for the inspection of the court.” Further, Sections 65A and 65B were introduced to make electronic evidence admissible in the court of law.

According to section 2(t) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 “electronic record” means data, record or data generated, image or sound stored, received or sent in an electronic form or microfilm or computer-generated microfiche.

The admissibility of the electronic document is also now recognized as per Section 17 of the Evidence Act which has been amended to include a statement in oral, documentary, or electronic form which suggests an inference to any fact at issue or of relevance. Section 65B gives a method of illustrating proof in the backing of electronic records and Therefore, E-mail being an electronic document is admissible under the sections mentioned above provided its authenticity is proved beyond doubt. Section 65B of the Indian evidence act is of utmost importance in accepting emails as admissible evidence by the courts as it gives us an important inference as to how an email or any other electronic document can be produced before the court as admissible evidence. The courts have rejected emails as evidence the ample number of times where a certificate in accordance with section 65B was not provided.

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