Child Witness Evidence Act

July 17, 2023

Section 118 of the Evidence Act gives us the provision related to competent witnesses. Which states that any person who is capable of understanding the questions put to him and able to answer those questions rationally is a competent witness, it also states that the reason of tender age (means a child), old age, infirmity, or any serious disease per se will not become the reason for making a person incompetent to testify as a witness.
This means if a person is of tender age or old age or is suffering from a serious disease but still that person able to answer the questions put to them in a court rationally then such people will be competent witnesses.
In a recent Judgement of the Supreme Court i.e. Pradeep vs state of Haryana (2023 SC), the Court held that, if the entire case is based upon the sole testimony of a child witness then it does not mean that the child witness is not reliable and court cannot reach to the conclusion of acquittal or conviction, but it is a duty of court to record his opinion that the child is able to understand the question put to him and also that child is able to understand the duty to speak the truth along with the reason that why court believe that child understand the duty to speak truth, in this regard court may put some preliminary questions to child witness, in order to satisfy itself.
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