119. Witness unable to communicate verbally/Dumb witness.

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:

Provided that if 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 video graphed. [Criminal Law Amendment Act, 2013]

COMMENTS:

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Deaf and dumb witness-

When a deaf and dumb person is examined in the Court, the Court has to exercise due caution and take care to ascertain before he is examined that he possesses the requisite amount of intelligence and that he understands the nature of oath. On being satisfied on this the witness may be administered oath by appropriate means and that also be with the assistance of interpreter. However in case a person can read and write it is most desirable to adopt that method being more satisfactory than any sign language. Law requires that there must be a record of signs and not the interpretation of signs.
Related case- Darshan Singh v. State of Rajasthan, 2012

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