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Kerala High Court issues guidelines on handling of digital evidence containing sexually explicit material

I. Guidelines for Law Enforcement Agencies:

Seizure and Documentation: Law enforcement officers must exercise utmost caution when seizing electronic records, preventing any chance of destruction. The entire process should be documented in a mahazer for transparency and accountability. Electronic records should be separately packed, sealed, and labeled with a unique ‘Sexually Explicit Materials’ (SEM) tag.

Maintenance of Register: To ensure meticulous record-keeping, law enforcement agencies must maintain a comprehensive register detailing the seized materials. This register should include critical information such as the date, time, place of recovery, the source from whom it was recovered, and the officers involved.

Storage and Transmission: Sealed packets containing sexually explicit material should be securely stored in lockers. A register must document the time and date of placing the packet in the locker, along with the acknowledgment of the person responsible for the locker’s custody. The transmission of sealed packets to the relevant court should be meticulously recorded.

Accountability: In cases where unauthorized access to sealed packets is discovered, a thorough investigation should be conducted and those responsible should be held accountable. This ensures the integrity and confidentiality of the evidence.

Source: Barandbench

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