Supreme Court: In a case dealing with the offence of rape under Section 376 of IPC, wherein the deposition of the prosecutrix was recorded by the trial court in English language though she had deposed in her vernacular language, the bench of Ajay Rastogi and Bela M. Trivedi*, JJ has reminded all the Courts to duly comply with the provisions of Section 277 of CrPC while recording the evidence of the witnesses. Hence, the evidence of the witness has to be recorded in the language of the court or in the language of the witness as may be practicable and then get it translated in the language of the court for forming part of the record.
Explaining the law on the practice to be followed while recording evidence of the witnesses, the Court explained that the evidence of the witness has to be taken down in the language of the court as required under Section 277 CrPC. If the witness gives evidence in the language of the court, it has to be taken down in that language only. If the witness gives evidence in any other language, it may, if practicable, be taken down in that language, and if it is not practicable to do so, a true translation of the evidence in the language of the court may be prepared.
“It is only when the witness gives evidence in English and is taken down as such, and a translation thereof in the language of the court is not required by any of the parties, then the court may dispense with such translation. If the witness gives evidence in the language other than the language of the court, a true translation thereof in the language of the court has to be prepared as soon as practicable.”
The Court stressed that the text and tenor of the evidence and the demeanor of a witness in the court could be appreciated in the best manner only when the evidence is recorded in the language of the witness.
“Even otherwise, when a question arises as to what exactly the witness had stated in his/her evidence, it is the original deposition of the witness which has to be taken into account and not the translated memorandum in English prepared by the Presiding Judge.”
[Naim Ahamad v. State, 2023 SCC OnLine SC 89, decided on 30.01.2023]
*Judgment authored by: Justice Bela M Trivedi.
Advocates who appeared in this case :
For State: Advocate K.L Janjan;