Criteria to Become a Witness

Who can be a witness?

Any person , who is able  to understand  question put to him/her  and who is able  to give intelligible answer  to it, is regarded  as a competent  witness , if he/she comprise the requirement  stated above. A dumb person can relate his/her story through signal or in a written form. This is also regarded as oral evidence.

 Who can be the best witness?

Evidence given by a witness, who has good character or high moral standard carries great weight age in any court proceeding. In order to insure the capability of the witness, witness must encounter the following requirement of the law as

a. He/ she must take oath before giving evidence.

b. He/ she is subjected to cross-examination by his /her opponent.

c. He /she is liable to punishment under perjury if, he/she  speaks  untruthful  story in the court.

d. His/her gesture or mode of presentation is observed by the court. This is very much necessary to see how far he/she is confident in his/her expression and spontaneous in his/her presentation.

But in England every one can be a witness. As per the Criminal procedure (Attendance of witness Act) 1965 states that all same adults  not subject to sovereign  or diplomatic immunity  are competent and compellable to give evidence subject to the  exception relating to the accused and his/her spouse.

 Child Witness:

A child of tender age may be allowed  to testify /give evidence if the Court is satisfied that he/she has capacity  to  understand the question put to him/her  and gives rational answers  to those questions. The Indidian Evidence Act 1872 prescribes no age limit as to competence of giving evidence. Even a child of 3 or 4 years old is competent to give evidence provided; he/she is competent to give rational answer to the questions put to him/her. A child witness below the age of 12 years need not administer oath before giving evidence, since he/she is ignorant of the moral significance of the oath. Generally the court entertains the evidence given by the child witness , conducts a test known  as ‘Voire Dire Test’ by putting certain questions unconnected with the case like who are you? What is your name?  What is your father name? Where do you live? If the child gives rational answer to such questions, the court satisfies that the child is a competent witness and allows putting questions to the child, pertaining to the case. In the case of Krishna Prasad Shimkhada vs.HMG, The Supreme Court of Nepal has observed that generally court can not rely the statement made by the lunatic and child witness.[4]but in the case of Gyan Prasad Rai vs.HMG, the Supreme Court has observed that there is no any situation the child will speak lie, so the statement made by the child shall be admissible. In early days child witnesses were not admissible in England but in the case of R.vs. Brasier court has made decision about the admissibility of child witness.

Value of Child Witness:

A child   of tender age does not take oath; neither can he/she be cross-examined, rigorously. If his/her story proves untruthful, he/she can not be penalized under perjury. Therefore, evidence given by child witness is always regarded as week evidence. It must be collaborated by some other evidence in order to rely upon it. Even an accomplish can be a witness but his/her evidence carries less weight age and requires corroboration. The same hold good if an accused present himself/herself as witness.

Dumb Witness:

Evidence given by the dumb witnesses is admissible. A deaf and dumb witness cannot speak and understand the question put him/her. Earlier, it was thought that deaf and dumb person were regarded as idiots and were not competent to give evidence. However, modern science reveals that deaf and dumb person are mush more intelligent than any other normal person, and are competent to give evidence. Thus , a person , by reasons of dumbness  or otherwise , is unable  to  speak  may give evidence  by means  such as by writing  or by signs.

According to Section 119 of Evidence Act 1872 of India,” A witness who is unable to speak may give  his/her evidence in any other matter in which he/she  can make  it intelligible , as by writing or by signs; but such writing must be  written  and the signs made in open  court. Evidence so given shall be deemed to be oral evidence and it is admissible.”

 Number of witnesses:

The Evidence Act 2031 does not declare any particular number of witnesses but general practice is not less than two witnesses in any case. It is not mandatory. If we see the provision of Indian Evidence Act 1872, also does not talk about any particular number of witnesses in any case. How many witnesses are necessary for the proof of a fact is wholly left to the judgment of the court. The Supreme Court of Nepal has in number of cases sustained convictions on the basis of the testimony of a sole witness. Section 134 of the Evidence Act 1872 of India says that it is not the number of witnesses that is important but the quality and credibility of the witnesses that counts.