The Supreme Court of India had stated that Deaf and Dumb Witnesses are valid as their signs and gestures for communication are admissible in evidence laws. According to section 119 of Indian evidence act of 1872 Dumb Witness is the “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.”
The Statement is made by the bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Dipak Misra. The court has dismissed the appeal filed by Government of Rajasthan against Darshan Singh, a convict in the murder case of Kaku Singh. The deaf and dumb wife of Kaku was only the witness of the incident and so court approved this evidence. The court stated that ”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.
To sum up, a deaf and dumb person is a competent witness. If in the opinion of the court, the 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. The law required that there must a record of signs and not the interpretation of signs. However, such a view has subsequently been changed for the reason that modern science revealed that persons affected with such calamities are generally found more intelligent, and to be susceptible to far higher culture than one was once supposed."
Justice Dipak Misra assured that” "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 convey." Justice BS Chauhan mentioned that “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 an oath. The witness may be administered the oath by appropriate means and that may also be with the assistance of an interpreter”.
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