118. Who may testify?
All persons shall be competent to testify unless the Court considers that they are prevented from understanding the question put to them, or from giving rational answer to those questions, by tender years, extreme old age, disease, whether of body and mind, or any other cause of the same kind.
A lunatic is not incompetent to testify, unless he is prevented by his lunacy from understanding the questions put to him and giving rational answers to them.
Evidence of child witness-
(i) The deposition of a child witness may require corroboration, but in case his desposition inspires the confidence of the court and there is not embellishment or improvement therein the court may rely upon his evidence. Only in case there is evidence on record to show that a child has been turtored, the court can reject statement partly or fully.
Related Case- Ramesh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 2011
(ii) Evidence of child witness is not required to be rejected per se; but Court as a rule of prudence considers such evidence with close scrutiny and only on being convinced about the quality and reliability can record conviction based thereon.
Related Case- Golla Yelugu Govinda v. State of Andhra Pradesh
Reliability of witness-
Testimony of a relation or a friend normally would not falsely implicate a person thereby shielding true actual culprit.
Related Case- Narasingh Challan v. State of Orissa, 1997
It is true that by itself the evidence of a chance witness may not necessarily be false but as has often been said that it is unsafe to be relied upon.
Related Case- Ganpat Kondiba Chavan v State of Maharashtra, 1997
It is thoroughly unsafe to rely on the evidence of the tutored witness.
Related Case- Krishna Mohali v State of Bihar, 1997
Relative or interested witnesses are not necessarily unreliable witnesses.
Related Case- Sawai Ram v. State of Rajasthan, 1997
No doubt, an approver in the eye of law is a competent witness.
Related Case- Murlidharan v. State of Tamil Nadu, 1997
Evidence of child witness is not reliable who is under the influence of tutoring.
Related Case- Changan Dame v. State of Gujarat, 1994
Testimony of independent witness-
It is true that there is no immutable rule of appreciation of evidence that the testimony of independent witnesses should be ipso facto accepted but all the same the circumstance that witnesses are independent goes miles and miles to ensure their truthfulness.
Criminal Courts decide cases and the question of acceptance of evidence of witnesses on sound common sense and when they find witnesses to be wholly independent they endeavour to fathom the reason as to why their evidence should not be accepted. Ordinarily it is a safe and sound rule of appreciation of evidence to accept the testimony of an independent witness provided it is in consonance with probabilities. It is better if it is corroborated by inbuilt guarantees which ensure the truthfulness of the prosecution case, as a prompt F.I.R recoveries at the instance of accused person and the presence of injured eyewitnesses etc.
Related Case- Shravan Dashrath Datrange v. State of Maharashtra, 1997