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Grounds For Rejection Of Eye Witness

A witness who gives testimony to facts seen by him is called an eye witness, an eye witness is a person who saw the act, fact, or transaction to which he testifies.

According to section 3 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872, there are two major forms of witnesses:

  • Statement of witness

  • Documentary evidence

The eyewitness testimonies are considered under section 3(1) of the Indian Evidence Act. This section provides the statement of an eyewitness under oath with a major evidentiary value under Indian law.

An eye witness must be competent (legally fit) and qualified to testify in court. Section 118 of the Indian Evidence Act states that every person should be competent to testify before the Court of law unless exempted due to legal disability. E.g., a lunatic person can not testify as a witness.

A witness who was intoxicated or insane at the time the event occurred will be prevented from testifying, regardless of whether he or she was the only eyewitness to the occurrence.

There can be two possible grounds for rejection of eye witness -

Firstly, the conduct of an eye witness in non-disclosing the incident to anybody for a number of days is a highly unnatural one and is sufficient to reject his testimony. Secondly, it is well settled that the conduct of a witness in non-disclosing the incident to persons whom he must have met after the incident is indicative of the fact that he had not seen the accident.

Identification of an accused in Court by an ‘Eye witness’ is a serious matter and the chances of a false identification are very high. Where a case hangs on the evidence of a single eye witness it may be enough to sustain the conviction given sterling testimony of a competent, honest man although as a rule of prudence courts call for corroboration.

"It is a platitude to say that witnesses have to be weighed and not counted since quality matters more than quantity in human affairs."

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