May 13, 2019

Failure to Produce Certificate under Section 65 B Of Evidence Act With Charge Sheet Not Fatal To Prosecution: Supreme Court


The Supreme Court has held in the State of Karnataka versus M R Hiremath case that failure to produce a certificate under Section 65B (4) of the Evidence Act at the stage when a charge sheet was filed, is not fatal to the prosecution.

An official accused of corruption had filed a petition before the Karnataka High Court challenging the trial court order refusing to discharge him in a criminal case.

The Karnataka High Court had held that the absence of a certificate under Section 65B of the Evidence Act, or secondary evidence of the electronic record, based on a spy camera is inadmissible as evidence.

It was further held that the case of the prosecution that apart from the electronic evidence, other evidence is available is “on its face unconvincing”.

Hearing an appeal filed by the State Of Karnataka, a Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Hemant Gupta, observed that the Karnataka High Court had erred in concluding that the failure to produce a certificate under Section 65B (4) of the Evidence Act at the stage when the charge sheet was filed, was fatal to the prosecution.

The Supreme Court bench said that the need for production of such a certificate would arise when the electronic record is sought to be produced in evidence at the trial and that it is only at that stage that the necessity of the production of the certificate would arise.

The bench set aside the Karnataka High Court order, reiterating that at the stage of considering an application for discharge, the court must proceed on the assumption that the material which has been brought on the record by the prosecution is true.

It observed that the material must be evaluated in order to determine it facts emerging it, taken at face value, disclose the existence of any ingredients necessary to constitute an offence.

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