Evidence of deaf and dumb person

Section 119 of the Indian Evidence Act, reads as under:
119. Dumb Witnesses. A witness who is unable to speak may give his evidence in any other manner in which he 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.”
In a recent Judgment of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, viz., State of Rajasthan v. Darshan Singh, it was held as under:
“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.
Language is much more than words. Like all other languages, communication by way of signs has some inherent limitations, since it may be difficult to comprehend what the user is attempting to covey. But a dumb person need not be prevented from being a credible and reliable witness merely due to his/her physical disability. Such a person though unable to speak may convey himself through writing if literate or through signs and gestures if he is unable to read and write.”

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Filed under Criminal Law, Evidence Act

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