Testimony of child witness can be relied upon: SC

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New Delhi, Feb 21 (UNI) The Supreme Court has ruled that the age of a witness is no determining factor and the testimony of a child witness can be relied upon if it seems reliable and true.

The ruling followed the deposition in a case of a girl who is the daughter of the deceased and her mother was involved in the murder.

A Bench comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat and P Sathasivam in their judgement observed, " Her evidence is concise and precise, and it is specific and vivid, it is neither embellished nor embroided.

It is the evidence of a child, who has seen the unusual and cruel incident. She was a girl of tender age who witnessed the killing of her father by her mother and others." "The age of the witness during examination was taken to be about 12 years. The Indian Evidence Act 1872, however, does not prescribe any particular age as a determining factor to treat a witness to be competent one. All persons shall be competent to testify, unless the court consider that they are prevented from understanding the questions put to them or from giving rational answers to these questions because of tender years, extreme old age or disease. A child of tender age can be allowed to testify if he/she has the intellectual capacity to understand questions and give rational answer there too," the apex court said.

In the present case, deceased Baban Misal was murdered by his wife, her paramours and the son of the couple on July 9, 1998. Both the trial court and the High Court convicted and sentenced Nivrutti Pandurang Kokate and others to life imprisonment.

The apex court dismissed Nivrutti's appeal.

UNI AKS/SC GT RP RK1835

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