Tri HC | Corroboration of testimony of child witness is a rule of prudence and nothing more; deposition by child witness after 22 years admitted

Tripura High Court: The Division Bench comprising of Sanjay Karol, CJ and Arindam Lodh, J. admitted the deposition of the prosecution witness which fully inspired confidence in establishing the guilt of the accused beyond doubt.

The respondent, a 28-year-old man has given the testimony in the case of the murder of his parents which he happened to witness at only 6 years of age. The facts of the case were that the accused along with three other persons entered the house of the respondent and killed his parents with a sharp-edged weapon. The events, in this case, starting from the investigation, the accused absconding and then the further re-investigation ordered by the High Court which was followed by the trial took a span of nearly 21 years. In order to establish the complicity of the accused in the crime the testimony of the eyewitnesses were given weightage to as in this case the investigations conducted were faulty as observed by the Trial Court which had ordered for the conviction of the accused.

Further, an appeal was filed wherein the accused contended that the testimony of the prosecution witness who was a ‘minor’ when he witnessed the incident cannot be taken into account which was nonetheless given by him after a considerable span of years.

The Court observed that naturally, the prosecution witness will only depose what he saw at the time of the occurrence of crime and that he has categorically established the factum of the brutal murder which was neither shaky nor unbelievable thus leaving no ground for discrepancies. It was important to note that the prosecution witness knew the accused as he belonged to the same village thus making the deposition all the more plausible. It further added, “Though child witnesses are pliable and liable to be influenced easily, shaped and molded, but if after careful scrutiny of their evidence, the Court comes to the conclusion that there is an impress of truth in it, there is no obstacle in the way of accepting the evidence of a child witness. Corroboration, therefore, was a rule of prudence and nothing more. Accordingly finding the testimony to be fully corroborated, the appeal was dismissed. [Tapan Majumder v. State of Tripura, 2019 SCC OnLine Tri 25, decided on 25-01-2019]

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