Electronic evidence must be accompanied by Requisite Certificate u/s 36-B(2) of Central Excise Act: Orissa HC

Clipped from: https://www.taxscan.in/electronic-evidence-must-be-accompanied-by-requisite-certificate-u-s-36-b2-of-central-excise-act-orissa-hc/235875/?utm_source=izooto&utm_medium=push_notifications&utm_campaign=Electronic%20evidence

By Manu Sharma A S – On December 19, 2022 5:16 pm

Electronic evidence - evidence - Requisite Certificate - Central Excise Act - Central Excise - Orissa High Court - taxscan

The SIngle Bench of Chief Justice M S Raman of Orissa High Court held that, electronic evidence such as computer printouts shall be accompanied by the requisite documents under Section 36B(2) of the Central Excise Act, 1944.

These appeals by the Commissioner of Central Excise & Customs (hereafter ‘Department’) raised a common question of law as to whether electronic evidence such as computer printouts shall be accompanied by the requisite documents under Section 36B(2) of the Central Excise Act, 1944.

The Bench observed that, the seizure of a computer print-out of ‘Sunderlal’ ledger account from the residential premises of the accountant of Shivam Steel Corporation (SSC) which according to the Customs, Excise and Service Tax Appellate Tribunal (CESTAT) as held in its impugned order dated 29th April, 2016 is inadmissible in evidence for not satisfying the conditions laid down under Section 36-B(2) of the Central Excise Act, 1944.

It was further observed by the bench that,the questions of law framed revolve around the computer print out of the sales ledger of ‘Sunderlal’, it is necessary to dwell upon the legal implications of the said document.

Admittedly, the said document, i.e., computer print-out is in the nature of ‘electronic evidence’ to which Section 65-B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (EA) applies. For use of such electronic evidence in adjudication, the requirements of Section 36-B of the Central Excise Act, which reads as “Admissibility of micro films, facsimile copies of documents and computer printouts as documents and as evidence” have to be satisfied.

Mr. Choudhury Satyajit Mishra, on behalf of the Appellant-Department contended that since the Department had seized only the computer print-out and not the computer, it cannot be expected to comply with the requirements of Section 36-B(2) read with 36-B(4) of the Central Excise Act.

The Orissa High Court made it clear that, “the Court is unable to accept the above submission. Since it is the Department which is seeking to place reliance on the seized computer print-out, the burden is on the Department to ensure that the requirements of the law as regards its admissibility are fulfilled.”

Resultantly, the appeal of the department was dismissed.To Read the full text of the Order CLICK HERE

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