The Delhi High Court has issued a slew of directions to all criminal courts where evidence and statements of parties are being recorded electronically and asked them to preserve the digital records after uploading them at the central server
The directions came in a verdict by which a bench of Justice S Muralidhar set aside a lower court order convicting a DDA employee in a corruption case.
During the hearing, the bench was apprised by Sunil K Mittal, counsel for the accused, that the soft copy of the statement of his client was “not available on the hard disk of the trial court’s computer on which it was typed.”
Taking note of the plea, the court said every page of the evidence or statement “typed electronically will have a footer indicating the number of the case in the left hand corner and
the page out of the total number of pages of that document in the right hand corner”.
“The final corrected (and where applicable, the signed) versions of all evidence and statements recorded electronically shall, where recorded in a text format, be converted into the pdf format and digitally signed by the presiding judicial officer,” one of the directions said.
Justice Muralidhar also asked the Computer Committee of the High Court to consider issuing appropriate directions to implement its order.
Besides ordering securing of digitally-signed records, the bench also directed “one copy should be uploaded on a central server in the court complex”.
The record keepers “should maintain a register of the electronic evidence preserved on the court’s computer and in the back up flash drive/cd”, it said.
Meanwhile, the court set aside the conviction and one-year of jail-term awarded by trial court to Surender Singh in 2008 under the Prevention of Corruption Act on various grounds including the fact that complainant Tarkeshwar Sharma turned hostile and did not endorse CBI’ version.
It was alleged Surender, who had demanded Rs 4,000 bribe for ensuring that the house of the complainant will not be demolished, was apprehended while receiving Rs 1,000 as part payment.