Mohd Ashraf Mir v. CBI Chandigarh

The Cyber Blog IndiaCase Summary

Admissibility of a CD containing evidence and requirement of Section 65B certificate

Mohd Ashraf Mir v. CBI Chandigarh
In the High Court of Punjab & Haryana
CRA-S 2903-SB/2018 (O&M)
Before Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan
Decided on August 20, 2020

Relevancy of the Case: Admissibility of a CD containing evidence and requirement of Section 65B certificate

Statutes and Provisions Involved

  • The Information Technology Act, 2000 (Section 67)
  • The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (Section 467)
  • The Ranbir Penal Code, 1989 (Section 376)
  • The Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (Section 65B)

Relevant Facts of the Case

  • On March 14, 2006, a fruit vendor filed a criminal case under Section 67 of the Information Technology Act, 2000. He received a video from an unknown boy which depicted a girl in her vicinity.
  • There are eight accused persons in this case, from A1 to A8. A7 and A8 died during the pendency of the case.
  • Journal reports claim politicians, government officials, and influential people lured, blackmailed, and coerced teenage girls into immoral sexual favours.
  • A8 offered monetary help to a 13-year-old victim, also one of the prosecution witnesses (PW1). A8 started giving sedatives to the victim and forced her to have sexual intercourse with strangers. Eventually, she led her into the flesh trade.
  • The CBI-led investigation found that the video reported by the complainant was forwarded multiple times.
  • During the Test Identification Parade, PW1 identified the accused as A3, who filmed her video so that she could not marry anyone else. A3 also blackmailed PW1’s mother so that she would not disclose his name during the investigation.
  • The CBI investigation also included the then DIG of BSF Kashmir Sector as A6 in this case.

Prominent Arguments by the Advocates

  • The appellant’s counsel argued that the victim was not a minor at the time of the incident. Relevant evidence is vague and contradictory. A8 paid the victim, and all instances of sexual intercourse were consensual.
  • The counsel, appearing for A6, contended that the CD containing videos is not admissible as it does not fulfil the requirements of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
  • The respondent’s counsel relied on evidence where A8 and her husband confessed that they were running the brother. A8 named A6 as one of her customers. The counsel further submitted that the victim’s date of birth has no discrepancy per school records.

Opinion of the Bench

  • CDs admitted in evidence have been prepared from the computer. The data is stored in the computer’s hard disk, which is primary evidence. Therefore, the same does not require a Section 65B certificate. Moreover, PW1 has admitted it to be correct.
  • Banned militant groups and media channels have exaggerated the incident. Hence, only the information that the victim confirms is admissible. The court discouraged the defence counsel from asking details about the rape.
  • Some organisations against paramilitary forces in Jammu & Kashmir have used PW1 as a pedestal. The victim was in the protective custody of CBI at the time. She has only acknowledged knowing him through newspapers and TV reports of counter-insurgency operations. False implication of A6 is, therefore, a possibility.

Final Decision

  • The court upheld the trial court’s decision for A1, A3, A4, and A5.
  • As for A6, the court allowed the appeal and acquitted him of all charges by reversing the trial court’s decision.

Shubhangi Gehlot, an undergraduate student at Law Faculty, Maharaja Sayajirao University of Baroda, prepared this case summary during her internship with The Cyber Blog India in May/June 2021.