In an unusual move, a six-year-old girl, an alleged eye-witness to the murder of her mother two years ago, was summoned by a Delhi court to grace the witness box in order to bring out the truth about her mother's death.
Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau recorded the version of the girl child as a court witness even though the case had reached the culmination stage, saying that all evidence has to be considered for just conclusion of the matter.
The decision of the court is significant as the probe agency did not make the child a witness even though her version was recorded before a magistrate a couple of months after the incident.
"It is settled law that this court, in order to arrive at the truth, can summon any person to the court at any stage of the proceedings," the judge said.
"No doubt the trial in the present case has almost reached the stage of conclusion, but in order to do justice, it is open for this court even at this stage to examine any person whose evidence appears to be essential for a just decision of the case," she added.
The court decided to summon the child as a 'court witness' after the public prosecutor pointed out to it that the girl, who was hardly four years of age, was a material witness to the case and has not been cited as witness by the investigating officer.
The prosecutor also told the court that the child's version was recorded earlier by a magistrate.
"This being so, the child who is an eye witness to the incident being a necessary, relevant and material witness is required to be examined by this court in order to arrive at just decision of the case," Lau said.
The court was hearing the case of the murder of a woman, Garima, in her house in Bindapur here on April 16, 2008.
The four accused, who worked at the woman's house as carpenters, had allegedly entered the house on the fateful day when the victim was alone with her daughter.
The men reportedly strangulated Garima and decamped with the valuables.
They had also attacked the child; believing her to be dead, they dumped her in the bedding but she survived.
The police had recovered the looted articles allegedly from the possession of the accused.