K K Velusamy v. N. Palanisamy
(2011) 11 SCC 275
In the Supreme Court of India
Civil Appeal No 2795-2796/2011
Before Justice R V Raveendran and Justice A K Pattnaik
Decided on March 30, 2011
Relevancy of the case: Consideration of Call Recordings as a relevant fact and admitting them as an evidence under Section 151 CPC.
Statutes & Provisions Involved
- The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 2(1)(t))
- The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Sec 3,8)
- The Civil Procedure Code, 1908 (Section 151, 35A, 35B, O XVIII R 17A)
Relevant Facts of the Case
- The respondent filed a suit for specific performance of a contract entered into by him and the appellant for a consideration of ₹ 2,40,000. The respondent had already paid an advance of ₹ 1,60,000 and the appellant had agreed to execute the sale deed upon receiving the remaining amount within three months.
- Accordingly, the respondent waited at the Sub-Registrar’s office for the said execution and the appellant did not show up.
- The appellant contended that since the respondent is a money lender, a loan of ₹ 1,50,000 was taken from him in lieu of blank signed papers signed by the appellant.
- The appellant presented a compact disc containing recordings of calls e. electronically recorded evidence between the appellant, the respondent, and three other individuals involved in the case. These recordings were presented to prove the point that the agreement of sale was only made as a security for the loan.
- The respondent resisted the application that these call recordings have been created by using mimicry artists and three individuals involved in the case.
- The trial court denied to admit the evidence on the ground that the evidence has already been presented by both the parties and since arguments have been concluded, the application for admission of new evidence will only delay the matter. The same stance was taken by the High Court.
Opinion of the Bench
- The definition of evidence u/s 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 r/w definition of electronic records u/s 2(1)(t) of the Information Technology Act, 2000 includes a compact disc containing an electronic record of a conversation.
- As held by the Court in R M Malkani v. State of Maharashtra (AIR 1973 SC 157), the electronically recorded conversation is admissible in the court if –
- A contemporaneous electronic recording of a conversation is a relevant fact comparable to a photograph of a relevant incident and is admissible as an evidence under Section 8.
- The trial court and the High Court have not considered whether the evidence sought to be admitted will assist in clarifying the issue before the court. They dismissed the application mechanically on the ground that the case was at its final stage and the arguments have been concluded.
- This was a fit case for the trial court to exercise discretionary powers u/s 151 CPC to accept the application presented for the admission of the said compact disc upon satisfaction that the said disc could not have been presented earlier.
- The court may also listen to the recordings before accepting or rejecting the application for admission.
- The trial court was ordered to hear the matter on the basis of the judgment of this case.