Govt initiates legal amendment for use of digital signature

Published On: April 24, 2019 09:05 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, April 24: The government has initiated the process of amending the law to give recognition to electronic records and digital signature as evidence in law.

The government had adopted the use of the digital signature in 2015 but it was not recognized as legal evidence because of delay in amending the law.

Digital signature is a specially certified digital identification code which is used in electronic transactions between government offices and other entities. Business documents, electronic messages, emails or digital data can be exchanged using digital signatures for security and authenticity even as the country heads toward electronic governance. 

A bill to amend the Evidence Act 1994 has been registered at the National Assembly secretariat. The bill proposes making digital and electronic transactions valid and accepting digital signature as evidence in court. 

“The court shall accept transactions as valid if such transactions were made using electronic or digital signatures,” reads the proposed amendment to the bill. Existing law does not recognize digital signature as evidence in court. 

Similarly, the amendment also proposes recognizing audio-visual records as court evidence. Courts shall maintain electronic archives of audio-visual evidence, according to the proposed new law.

The proposed amendment provisions that the digital and electronic records of any work or transaction shall be accepted as evidence. 

With a view to updating the existing provision of certifying only paper documents, the amendment bill states that documents stored in digital, electronic, optical or electromagnetic forms can be certified as bona fide documents. 

In a clarification of the existing law the bill states that any statement in court from a co-accused concerning any incident involving more than one culprit shall be taken as evidence. Likewise, a statement from a person on his/her death bed about the cause of the death can be taken as evidence in court. 

Keeping in mind the advancement in the technology surrounding test tube babies, the bill says the father of a baby born through artificial insemination shall be considered the husband of the woman if the baby is born through consensus between the couple.


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