Madras High Court on Wednesday directed lower courts to obtain affidavits of secrecy from videographers who record the statements of witnesses who cannot hear or speak. Justice P.N. Prakash reportedly emphasized on Section 119 of the Evidence Act, which makes it mandatory for the evidence of such people to be recorded through interpreters or special educators.
The criminal appeal concerned with rape charges against the appellant, Mariyadoss of Kumbakonam in Thanjavur district. The conviction was modified from rape to attempt to rape, as also the sentence was commuted from seven to four years.
The Court noticed that no compensation was paid to the victim who was deaf and dumb, and directed the appellant to either pay her a compensation of Rs.1 lakh or undergo six more months of rigorous imprisonment.
The affidavit needs to be filed so as to ensure that the videos aren’t shared with anybody and also aren’t put up on any website online, in order to avoid injustice and embarrassment to the witnesses. The videographer won’t be allowed to share the proceedings with anybody.
Madras High Court also issued circulars to all lower courts, providing them with a list of all advocates who are skilled to assist the court in recording of evidence by such people and also provided for the expenses for such videographing from the contingent fund.