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hemanth (Director)     07 March 2010

Email Proofs are Legally Valid in India?

Hello Friends,

I am running an IT consulting company in Kerala. We once took mailing service from an Indian Company based in Chennai and later on cancelled it by sending their scanned cancellation document as per their policy on date. But they have  charged $2000 for consequtive 2 months  for their service after the cancellation date, saying that the account wasnt properly closed and they didnt get any cancellation document that i send as email.  I have contacted my company who provided the website hosting and they send me the proof of mailing from their mail log. But the mail log since being in clear text format, i feel i cant go with a legal  despute with that company as it can be easily cooked by anyone.

Please suggest what is the legal validity of email documents in India?  Is email content or mail log can be accepted as legal evidence before IT law? If accepting how much details or what all  i need to produce as legal evidence for email? If possible please provide me the urls to  final judgement of any such despute settlements came in India.

Any help will be much appreciated.


Thanks in advance,




 11 Replies

DISHA D. SHAH (lawyer)     07 March 2010

yes it is legal evidence as per cyber law

Rakesh Shekhawat (Advocate)     07 March 2010

After the enactment of Cyber Law, all e documents are recognised in evidence as good as any other document. Indian Evidence Act was also amended in line with it. But  It is evident that email as evidence in India has not reached or been used to its full potential just yet. The government and the courts have chosen to ignore the obvious possibilities that email offers as evidence and have elected to stick to the straight and narrow. Further, the amended sections of the Evidence Act are poorly worded and difficult to understand without muddling up their true intent and as a result, are difficult to interpret as well. The evidence in India may be considered not adequate as the courts might find it too difficult to understand due to the lack of competence of judges. 





The changes made to the Evidence Act relevant in application to emails are as follows:



(1)        Definition of Evidence: The definition of Documentary evidence was expanded to include electronic records.

(2)       Definition of Admission: was expanded to include admissions in form of electronic documents.

(3)       Addition of S.22-A: It was added to limit the relevance of oral admissions as to the contents of electronic records to when the genuineness of the electronic record is questioned.

(4)       Addition of S.65-A and S.65-B:  Section 65-A refers to the provisions of S.65-B for the proving of electronic records.


Section 65-B talks about the admissibility of electronic records. The conditions for admissibility of information are as follows:

(1)        The computer was regularly used by a person having lawful control over the use of the computer.

(2)        The information required or derived was regularly fed into the computer in the ordinary course of the said activities.

(3)        The Computer was operating properly, or if not, the defect did not affect the electronic record or the accuracy of the contents.


The information contained in the electronic record reproduces or is derived from such information on a computer in the ordinary course of nature.


The section also goes on to assume that transactions in multiple computers can be considered to be from one computer for the purpose of investigation. Further, the computer output once taken out must be certified by a person occupying a responsible official position in relation to the managing of such electronic evidence. 


(1)        Section 85-B (a): This sub-section lays down the presumption that a court shall presume that a secure electronic record is secure since the time when it was first secured.

 (2)      Section 88-A: This is the only section that directly deals with emails as such. It states that the presumption that exists in the court is that an email first sent by the originator is presumed to be the same as the one that is received. However, the courts will not make any presumptions as to who sent the message.


One major problem that exists with the amended provisions is that there is great emphasis in the substantive provisions on the computer itself and not the data that is retrieved from it. For example, there is only one substantive provision that deals directly with email or other media such as chat which are not stored on the computer of entry of data but on the server. Further, now that torrents have come into being, the data only exists in the internet, not on any specific computer. This shows how technology is moving ahead and law is falling behind.





















Ya_Ta (Software Professional)     08 March 2010


I Also Work at Software company & Yes It can be used as evidence.

kartikeya (lawyer/cyber law consultant/cyber crime investigator)     08 March 2010

Emails are produced as evidence in many cases.. Various provisions of the IT act and the Indian Evidence Act relate to cases in which emails are produced as evidence. please refer state vs. Mohd. Afzal and others. 

Sanjeev Panda (Advocate)     08 March 2010

This is a grey area of law, I mean as far as acceptance of email as evidence is concerned. There is no authoritative judicial pronouncement till date which throws light on this controversial legal issue. In theory, after the introduction of IT Act and amendment of Indian Evidence Act, pursuant thereto, the email should be accepted as evidence provided the requirement u/s 65-B Indian Evidence Act are fulfilled. However, I am giving you two cases in which the email as evidence was not accepted by the courts.

In the Rahul Associates v. CC, Mumbai, 2002 (142) E.L.T. 126 (Tri.-Mumbai), the Mumbai tribunal had, in 2002, decided that e-mail message was "an unsubstantiated and clumsy evidence... worthy of no reliance" when it was "sent without disclosing its source". In the case of CC, Mumbai v. Ridhi Sidhi Furniture Fitting Co. reported in 2002 (144) E.L.T. 444 (Tri. - Mumbai) pertains to enhancement of value on the basis of the E-mail. In that case the address of the sender and other additional information were not disclosed and the claim of the department was held to be unsubstantiated on the basis of these types of clumsy evidence. Further in the case of Forbes Patvolk Vs. Commissioner of Customs reported as 2004(169)ELT346(Tri-Chennai) in which the tribunal held that “the E-mail was only exchanged between the Manager of the vessel and the appellants, and these are not reliable documents on the basis of which refund could be allowed”

2 Like

G. ARAVINTHAN (Legal Consultant / Solicitor)     09 March 2010

Apex court also in a verdict opinioned that emails can also be used as legal proof

THAKKAR PANKAJ (LAWYER)     09 March 2010

hello there as per evidence act sec 65A and B,88A DEALS WITH IT and cyber law the document send by you is valid

deepak (manager)     11 March 2010


Do email's from gmail/rediff/yahoo also treated as evidence? or is it just corporate emails which get this treatment ...

Thanks in advance ...

Rakesh Shekhawat (Advocate)     14 March 2010

Yes Deepak both type emails are accepted. There is no as such difference in law. 

VictimOfBiasLaw (Professional)     23 January 2011

how court decide wheather email is correct or not ?

means , anyone can take print-out of with false "from" and "To" address and produce in court.

also even if this is correct opposite party would certainly delete these records from their mailbox , 

how court decide about authenticity of email conversation ?

suryagaurav (manager)     15 April 2011

it is very much same as legal notice sent tthrough postal mode .

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