Anvar v. Basheer and the new (old) law of electronic evidence

[Abstract] Last week, the Supreme Court of India delivered its judgment in the case of Anvar v. Basheer to declare new law in respect of the evidentiary admissibility of electronic records. Before the enactment of the IT Act, electronic evidence was offered in the same manner as secondary evidence of documents. In 2000, the IT Act created a special evidentiary procedure for electronic records. But, in the Parliament Attacks case, the Supreme Court ignored this special procedure and continued to admit flawed wiretap transcripts as if they were simple documents, this upheld a death penalty conviction. Subsequently, this wrong, but simpler, evidence standard has enabled the admission of leaked wiretap tapes of corruption and other iniquity to promote transparency. The Anvar case returns the law to its correct interpretation but will discourage public interest disclosures.