Delhi High Court has said that any forwarded document would be inadmissible in court as evidence unless the original is provided. The document shared on Whatsapp without its original copy would not set the court proceedings in motion under the Evidence Act, 1872, according to India Today. Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva stated this in the case of former Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Kalikho Pul. The National Lawyers Campaign for Judicial Transparency and Reforms and other had filed a petition against the late Pul which was dismissed in the court. The document in question is an alleged suicide note written by Pul. The note was written in Hindi but was translated into English and circulated via Whatsapp, according to the report. The petitioners have asked to register a FIR under Section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code citing that the document provided is commensurate with setting the criminal process into motion.
The petitioners did not let the court know about the sender of the forwarded Whatsapp message, and neither did they reveal who received the said message. According to the report, the court said, “I am unable to accept this contention, in as much as, in the present case, the petitioners very candidly admit that they are not privy to any information. What they believe to be information is a post on WhatsApp platform or an alleged translation in a website. The alleged information is not claimed to be true to their knowledge. It is not even stated in the petition as to how the petitioners have formed a reasonable belief that the alleged post or the translation could be true or have any basis.”
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“Annexure – A does not even qualify as a document in terms of the Evidence Act, 1872, in as much as, neither the original nor the copy of the original has been produced. It is an admitted position that the petitioners have not seen original and have had no occasion to even compare Annexure – A with the original.”