Asked June 26, 2016

Use of video and audio recordings as evidence

  • 1 Answer

I recently got married to a girl who was taken away by her mother so as to pressurize me to agree on to her terms on many things. Bride's mother kept on creating situations from day 1 of the marriage. I have proof of audio call recordings and video recordings for almost every situation she created to bring this relation to an end in less than a month. I would like to know how much do the courts give value to call recordings and video recordings while deciding the case. Despite of being proven (in front of so called Panchayties, i.e. group of old/mature people) that the Bride's mother did all the wrong and is responsible for the current situation, Bride's mother is threatening for a false case and asks a BIG amount so to settle this case in a peaceful manner and appear in front of the court as a mutually agreed divorce condition.

Answer 1

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Saumya Kumar
It has been accepted by the Indian Supreme Court that tape recorded speeches and videos can be considered as an Evidence under Section 3 of the Evidence Act, 1872. (Tukaram S.Dighole vs Manikrao Shivaji Kokate, 2010 (4). SCC 329 ) At the same time the Courts are also aware that these electronic documentiations are susceptible to tampering and have cautioned that the Court must not rely completely on such evidences. (R. v. Maqsud Al(1967) 3 SCR 720) . Therefore the Supreme Court has identified that an audio/video will be considered as an evidence when it can be proved that it is not tampered with and therefore have attached more stringent level of assessment as compared to other documentary evidence. In the case of Ziyauddin Burhanuddin Bukhari v. Brijmohan Ramdass Mehra, (1976) 2 SCC 17 , the Supreme Court held that the tape-records of speeches were admissible in evidence on satisfying the following conditions: "(a) The voice of the person alleged to be speaking must be duly identified by the maker of the record or by others who know it. (b) Accuracy of what was actually recorded had to be proved by the maker of the record and satisfactory evidence, direct or circumstantial, had to be there so as to rule out possibilities of tampering with the record. (c) The subject-matter recorded had to be shown to be relevant according to rules of relevancy found in the Evidence Act." The Supreme Court over the years in several decisions has identified that a audio or video evidence will be considered only when the parties can prove that the evidence is authentic and has not been tampered with.(Tukaram S.Dighole vs Manikrao Shivaji Kokate, 2010 (4). SCC 329 ) The other party can contend that the evidecne is not proper but they will also have to substantiate this point. As per the facts given, you will have to prove that the recodings are genuine and have not been tampered with in any way for the Court to accept it as evidence and rely on it for deciding the dispute. Either the speakers in your recoding or other person known to the speakers will have to give the evidence that the video is authentic. You can also ask other people who were present when the video/audio was recoded to support that the recoding is genuine and the material is not tampered.
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