Digital evidence is a probative information stored or transmitted in digital species like data, photograph, audio, video, DVD, memory card, hard disk, e-mail, telegram, telex.
** The laws on criminal procedure in Bangladesh, such as, the Evidence Act of 1872 and the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) 1898 prescribe no explicit provision recognising or approving of its admissibility into judicial proceedings but contain scope of judicial interpretation which may allow for the same.
In Bangladesh, no specific insertions have been made for the admission of digital evidence. However, special laws like the Information and Communication Technology Act of 2006 and the Digital Security Act of 2018 have been enacted.
The words “any matter expressed or described upon any substance by means of letters, figures or marks” under the elucidation of “Documentary Evidence” as codified in section 3 of Evidence Act, section 3(16) of General Clauses Act and section 29 of Penal Code can be interpreted to include digital evidence, since the word “matter” is a term of the widest amplitude.
Judicial interpretation articulates that digital evidence is an amplification of matter expressed or described upon digital substance by means of letters, figures or marks and inclusive of material and secondary evidence. It verbalises that the other forms of digitalisation have the same legal entity. If question as to authentication and tampering of digital evidence arises, the law prescribes gateway to remove any sort of doubt. Expert opinion rule under section 45 of the Evidence Act provides the scope to seek expert opinion of science. Search and examination rule of section 165 and 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure empower the Investigating Officer to attach anything and examine its maker. This procedure may be followed to cross-examine the makers of the documentary evidence.
To recapitulate, although digital evidence may be admissible under the present law but as proliferation of technology expands and the nature of electronic information grows to be even more complex, the law should be revised to meet the needs of the time.