What is the legality of call recordings in India?


Taping of telephonic conversation is illegal by any third party in India. It is interesting to note that even if the taping is illegal, the telephone conversation recording has been approved as an important piece of evidence in various cases from time and again in the court of law. The government or the prosecutor can claim the benefit of the general public interest for which they had to take a step that violates someone’s privacy.

According to Section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, electronic records produced for the inspection of a court are considered as documentary evidence. Electronic records are admissible as per Section 65A and 65B of the same act. Due to these provisions, call recordings are admissible in a court of law. As far as Indian perspective is concerned, the honorable Supreme Court has set certain guidelines for admissibility of call records in a court of law. However, none of those guidelines require consent for recording in the first place. Further, the party who has been recorded may not be notified that such a record exists. If a call recording is presented before a court, the other party to the call may take a defence that the statement was recorded against his will and without his consent.

Such a piece of evidence is against the fundamental principles of Article 20 and Article 20(3) as it is along the lines of self-incrimination. This may also be considered as a violation of the right to remain silent. Therefore we can say that, recording calls is legal in India but is subjected to some restrictions.

Reference: Indian Evidence Act, 1872



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