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Evidence (Amendment) Bill-2022 placed in JS

Published : 31 Aug 2022 10:26 PM | Updated : 01 Sep 2022 04:08 PM

Evidence (Amendment) Bill, 2022 on Wednesday placed in the Jatiya Sangsad, keeping the provision that makes digital evidence admissible in court.

Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Anisul Huq placed the bill in the House with Speaker Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury in the chair.

With this amendment, digital evidence will be acceptable in trial, according to the draft law.

The proposed law will replace the Evidence Amendment Act 1872, said the minister.

Maintaining decency while cross-examining a victim in the courtroom has also been incorporated in the proposed law. "The court can decide what kind of questions a victim should be asked," he said.

The practice of submitting evidence online began with the inception of virtual courts amid the Covid pandemic.  But there is nothing specific about "online or digital evidence" in the existing Evidence Act, said the cabinet secretary.

With the current law in place, legal complications might arise if any aggrieved person files a petition with the higher court, challenging the verdict of the lower court that had accepted such evidence during virtual trials, he explained.

The draft of the new law has kept a provision for forensic examination of digital evidence. "If the court finds it necessary, or any party of the case questions the authenticity of such evidence, there can be forensic examination," said the minister.

He said sufficient laboratories are there in the country for forensic tests of digital evidence, and Bangladesh Computer Council is also equipped with modern technology required for this. The government might set up more such laboratories.

He noted the submission of false or manipulated evidence would be punishable as before. If anyone tampers with evidence, the person will be dealt with as per section 211 of the Penal Code or Digital Security Act.

Earlier, the Cabinet Division has approved the proposed Evidence (Amendment) Act 2022 in principle, keeping the provision that makes digital evidence admissible in court.

After placing of the proposed bill, the minister proposed to send the bill to the parliamentary standing committee on the respective ministry for scrutiny and submit it before the House within 30 days.