An accused person cannot be coerced to reveal the passwords or other similar details of the digital devices seized during an investigation while the trial is underway, the Delhi High Court said last month, Bar and Bench reported on Wednesday.

Justice Saurabh Banerjee made the observation while granting bail to Sanket Bhadresh Modi, the director of a company accused of making about $20 million through scam phone calls to the United States from fake call centres in India.

The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is investigating the case, had opposed Modi’s bail plea, saying that he was the main accused in the scam and had failed to provide the passwords of his gadgets, email and cryptocurrency wallet accounts, reported Bar and Bench.

However, the court noted that the proceedings of the case primarily revolve around electronic evidence including laptops, mobile phones and other such sophisticated gadgets, which the agency had already seized.

The court said that an accused is expected to join the investigation to not hinder the proceedings.

“Thus, any accused like the applicant is expected to show high sensitivity, diligence and understanding during such an investigation,” the judgement said. “At the same time, the concerned investigating agency cannot expect anyone who is an accused, like the applicant herein, to sing in a tune which is music to their ears, more so, whence such an accused, like the applicant herein is well and truly protected under Article 20(3) of the Constitution.”

Article 20(3) of the Constitution states that no person accused of any offence can be compelled to be a witness against themselves.

Also read: Indian law has few safeguards when electronic devices are seized