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There is no reason to disbelieve the testimony of the minors: Delhi High Court

Testimony of a minor must not be considered invalid by default. The Court found it essential to observe the testimony of two minors in the matter of Mohd.Chand vs State (Govt. Of Nct Of Delhi) [Crl.A.No.621/2020 AND Crl.M.A. No. 17106/2020]. The decision was given by Hon’ble Ms Justice Anu Mehrotra.”

The appellant was convicted under various sections of the POCSO Act, 2012 and the Indian Penal Code. The offences include aggravated sexual assault with a minor boy, along with criminal intimidation. The appellant was seeking suspension of the sentence during pendency of the appeal which was declined by the Court.

The appellant and the co-convict had pleaded not guilty and demanded a trial. During the course of the trial, the victim informed the police about the incident and also identified the appellant. The child witness, a friend of the victim also gave his testimony under the sanctity of oath. It was also submitted on behalf of the appellant that there are major discrepancies in the version put forth by the child witnesses.

The learned Trial Court observed that, “…there was nothing to indicate as to why the minor child victim A would falsely implicate the appellant and the co-convict in the matter and that evasive replies of ‘it is incorrect’ and ‘I do not know’ had been given by the appellant and the co-convict under Section 313 of the Cr.P.C., 1973, and the defence of the appellant had not been brought forth substantially to discredit and demolish the prosecution version.”

The Court found it essential to advert to the observations laid down in Dinesh Chand Vs. State in 2019 and held, “It is essential to observe that there is no reason to disbelieve the testimony of the two minor children, i.e., the victim child A and the child witness N, in the circumstances of the case.”

The judgement further stated that, “…it is only a rule of prudence that the Court finds it desirable to have the corroboration of the evidence of the child from the testimonies of the witnesses and it is not the law that if a witness is a child, his evidence shall be rejected even if it is found reliable.”

Considering the circumstances, it was concluded that there was no infirmity whatsoever in the impugned judgment and the appellant merits no leniency and it is held that there is no infirmity neither in the impugned judgment dated 19.2.2020 nor the impugned order on sentence dated 20.2.2020.

The appeal was thus declined by the court.

Click here to read judgement.

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