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Delhi HC Suggests the Police to Record Digital Witness Statements Under CrPC

Stepping up the ladder of technology, the Indian Law acknowledges the use of digital record maintenance for authenticity and effective witness statements. Delhi Police submitted a report stating that the existing technology is unable to meet the needs, as mostly the data and the device become obsolete, causing trouble in presenting the recorded witness statements. For which, Delhi High Court suggested the use of cloud technology and other digital formats to manage the high number of witnesses.

In the recent order passed by the Delhi High Court, it was suggested that the method for recording the statements of witnesses digitally be used. Moreover, it will not change the procedure of recording the statement but will act as an inclusion in the present mechanism for maintaining the credibility of the statement given by the witnesses to the Police Authorities.

The order was passed by the bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice I.S. Mehta, by issuing a notice to the Central as well as the Delhi Government, suggesting the method of digitally recording the statements of the witnesses by Delhi Police. This order was a result of the report from July 2017 - June 2018, filed on behalf of the Delhi Police stating that total 2,28,070 cases were registered and around 10,00,000 were examined during the investigation.

Delhi Police submitted that due to the high number of witnesses, the existing technology is not able to meet with the needs. Most of the times the data becomes or even the device becomes obsolete which causes trouble in presenting the recorded statements of the witnesses in court.

Taking into consideration all the issues, the High Court has then suggested that the digital recording through wearable/ body cameras. Also, the court observed that the issues flagged by the Delhi Police in the status report, no doubt, would have to be addressed. However, in the court's view they are not insurmountable, and with the involvement of experts in the field, the said issues can satisfactorily be taken care of and answered. To begin with, it is possible that video recordings are made by use of body held/ wearable cameras, simultaneously while continuing to follow the existing procedure for recording of statements of witness/ disclosure statements and while effecting the recoveries.

The Court also made clear that suggesting the digital recording will not take over the present proceedings, but it will be a step that would help Police under the Section 161 of CrPC.

Further, the Court directed the  State that the financial cost should not be an issue while implementing these procedures. It is the responsibility as well as the duty of the State to arrange funds from the authorities whether it is GNCTD or the Central Government itself. 

Therefore, the Court has issued the notice to the respective authorities - Commissioner of Police, The Secretary Home, GNCTD,  to the Secretary, also Ministry of Home Affairs and the Union of India. 

Hence, the matter has been listed for further proceedings on 10th September 2018. 


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Reviewed by:
Jyoti Yadav
Published on 27-Aug-18

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