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Is WhatsApp Chat Legal In Court?

There is a lot of misunderstanding about WhatsApp messages or chats being used as proper evidence in courts. So the short and sweet answer to your question is Yes, WhatsApp chats can be presented as legal evidence in the court but only accompanied by a certificate under Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act. If you are still feeling a little confused about this whole thing, well, you should keep on reading this post because we are about to list all the necessary information like what laws are there regarding electronic evidence in India, how strong of evidence can a WhatsApp chat be in court, and other things regarding this topic. So, here we go.

WhatsApp Chat Legal In Court

What Laws Are There In Place For Electronic Evidence in India?

You see, “Electronic record” means anything generated, created, sent, received, or stored in digital form. This means that an electronic record actually includes any digital data including e-mails, social media messages, and yes, WhatsApp chats. Two very important sections of the Indian Evidence Act of 1872 were added as specific sections for the treatment of electronic records as evidence in the Act: Section 65A and Section 65B.

Section 65B is, by and large, very relevant as it lays down the conditions under which electronic records are admissible in evidence in a court of law.

What’s The Credibility of WhatsApp Chats as Evidence?

For WhatsApp messages to be credible or presented in Indian courts, several conditions must be satisfied. Firstly, the message reached an intended recipient without any problem, that the handset or phone through which the message was sent or received was working and not damaged, that the message was sent by the sender with a clear intention to deliver the message, and that the data reproduced in a court would be exactly the same as available in the original electronic record.

Certification Requirement Under Section 65B

Section 65B(4) of the Indian Evidence Act requires that there must be a certificate to be adduced on production to admit electronic records as evidence with the details of the electronic record, the device on which the electronic record was produced, and the manner in which it was produced. The certificate must further state that the record has not been altered and was produced on a regularly used device. The person who issues this certificate must be in a position of authority concerning the operation of the device used to produce the electronic record.

See, the general rule is, that if the original evidence is not produced before the court, the certificate is necessary.

Do WhatsApp Messages Hold Any Weight in Trials?

The probative value of WhatsApp messages, or their ability to prove something in court, depends on how they are presented and authenticated. WhatsApp messages, of their own, have no potency to prove someone guilty. They are at best considered secondary evidence. For example, WhatsApp chats are not capable of shifting as primary evidence because electronic evidence has to be under certification of Section 65B in order to be legible in court.


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