How To Record The Evidence Of Deaf And Dumb Rape Victim? Bombay HC Explains [Read Order]
The Bombay High Court remanded a rape case to the Trial Court on the ground that evidence of deaf and dumb victim was recorded without considering the provisions of Section 119 Evidence Act.
As per the proviso to Section 119 Evidence Act, when the witness is unable to communicate verbally, the court shall take the assistance of an interpreter or a special educator in recording the statement, and such statement shall be videographed.
In State of Rajasthan vs. Darshan Singh @ Darshan Lal, the Supreme Court has explained the mode of taking evidence when the witness is deaf and dumb. It had said:
To sum up, a deaf and dumb person is a competent witness. If in the opinion of the Court, oath can be administered to him/her, it should be so done. Such a witness, if able to read and write, it is desirable to record his statement giving him questions in writing and seeking answers in writing. In case the witness is not able to read and write, his statement can be recorded in sign language with the aid of interpreter, if found necessary. In case the interpreter is provided, he should be a person of the same surrounding but should not have any interest in the case and he should be administered oath.
In this appeal filed by a rape convict, Justice A. M. Dhavale noted that the Trial Court did not verify the victim's understanding capacity. Though evidence of the witness was recorded by appointing an interpreter, no oath was administered to the interpreter that he would fully and correctly interpret the questions put to the witness and shall also fully and correctly interpret the answers given by the witness in sign language to the court, the court said. Remanding the matter back to Trial Court, the Judge said:
"The Judge shall record the competency to understand and interpret the sign language of deaf and dumb person. The Judge shall give oath to the interpreter for correctly interpreting the questions to the witnesses and the answers given by the victim to the court. Once it is done, the evidence shall be recorded and the same shall be videographed. The prosecution shall make arrangement of the videography of the evidence."