Can physical disabilites disqualify a witness?

May 30 2012, 02:31 IST
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SummaryThe Supreme Court has ruled that deaf and dumb witnesses need not be prevented from giving evidence in court merely on account of their physical disability as they can do so either by writing or through gestures.

Deaf & dumb people can make valid witnesses, if statement is satisfactory

The Supreme Court has ruled that deaf and dumb witnesses need not be prevented from giving evidence in court merely on account of their physical disability as they can do so either by writing or through gestures. It said that the testimonies of such witnesses are valid and admissible pieces of evidence as long as the same is done in an intelligible manner to the satisfaction of the court. “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,” the apex court said, while dismissing an appeal filed by the Rajasthan government against the acquittal of one murder convict Darshan Singh. The victim’s deaf and dumb wife was the star witness on whose testimony Darshan was sentenced to life imprisonment by a fast track sessions court. However, the high court had set aside the trial court’s conviction, giving the benefit of the doubt to Darshan.

Independent arbitrators have to be impartial to both parties

The Supreme Court has appointed Justice Ashok C Agarwal, retired Chief Justice of the Madras High Court, as the sole arbitrator to resolve disputes between Bipromasz Bipron Trading SA and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL). Normally, the court appoints an arbitrator as per the agreed terms between the parties in the contract. However, in this case, it deviated from the procedure after recording reasons for the same. In the present case, the Polish firm had bagged an order in October 2008 from BEL for the supply of various goods, including GYRO units. The supplier had sent 10 units of GYRO stabilisers, which were rejected by the PSU on the ground that the goods supplied were not of Russian origin. Later on, BEL directly contacted the Russian manufacturer and obtained the units through some other exporter to frustrate the purchase order of Bipromasz.

BEL then again showed interest in August 2010 in getting 50 GYRO units on a condition that the payment will be made after the acceptance of the units by it. Bipromasz, though not obliged under the contract, could supply only 14 units due to the short validity of the Letter of Credit. Thereafter, BEL did not respond to the Polish

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