Supreme court held that when statements are likely to go against or lead to incrimination by themselves or make a link in the chain of evidence, then the limitation of Article 20(3) of the Constitution would apply.
Monday morning a Delhi court gave a judgment in the case CBI v. Mahesh Kumar Sharma & Ors. That the accused can't be forced to provide his electronic gadgets passwords, including phone computer, etc. After they are seized by the agency during an investigation as it may amount to compelling him to give self-incriminating testimony. Mentioning the SC verdict in the case of the narcoanalysis /lie detecting test the court held that it was necessary to take consent before the test of the accused or the nod, it is the same here because the password would hold the personal knowledge of the accused that can't be taken without permission. So, the court dismissed the CBI plea seeking an order for the accused to provide the password. The case relates to the arrest CBI made in September 2020 when a former deputy commissioner of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIT) and two others were accused of bribery. They allegedly conspired to influence public servants to clear a trade of imported toys that was stopped by the authorities. The prosecutor for the CBI said that the accused was released on bail on the condition that he will cooperate with the investigation agency and that the information brought into the light will lead to a fair investigation. The court said the accused has a fundamental right to maintain silence as per Article 20(3) of the Constitution and forcing him to reveal a password would be violative of the right. Article 20(3) of the constitution provides that “no person accused of any offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself” However “Special Judge Naresh Kumar Laka, clarified that the investigating officer was within their right to access such data with the help of experts.”Suggesting that the agency can take help from a specialised agency in computer or legal hacking person to crack the computer password. Further, in the case, it was held by the Supreme court that when statements are likely to go against or lead to incrimination by themselves or make a link in the chain of evidence, then the limitation of Article 20(3) of the Constitution would apply. In this case, also, the investigating officer is seeking to find out further links in the chain of evidence by using the data which are lying inside the computer system of the accused.
Tags : #delhi supreme court #CBI #CBIT #Article20(3) # judge naresh kumar laka