A petition was filed for grant of regular bail. The petitioner had allegedly booked a consignment for delivering contraband, and the consignment was caught by the Narcotics Bureau. The petitioner was later arrested and his bail application was rejected. The Narcotics Bureau argued that there are screenshots of WhatsApp messages available which implicate the petitioner in this case.
Would WhatsApp chats, not supplemented with Section 65B certificate, have any evidentiary value at the stage of bail?
Petition is allowed and direction is given to release him on regular bail. Narcotics Bureau would be at liberty to rely upon the WhatsApp messages after due compliance of provisions of Section 65B of the Indian Evidence Act.
It is to be noted that in Paras Jain v. State of Rajasthan 2015 SCC Online Raj 8331, and consequently it was held that a Section65B certificate can be obtained at any stage of the trial, except when the trial is over. Therefore, any electronic evidence (in this case WhatsApp chats) without Section 65B certificate would not be considered even at the stage of bail.
You can read a copy of the order here.