The Supreme Court has held that courts can rely on the deposition of even a child witness for convicting an accused.
"A child of tender age can be allowed to testify if he has intellectual capacity to understand questions and give rational answers thereto.
"The evidence of a child witness is not required to be rejected per se, but the court as a rule of prudence considers such evidence with close scrutiny and only on being convinced about the quality thereof and reliability can record conviction, based thereon," the apex court observed.
A bench of Justices Arijit Pasayat and Asok Kumar Ganguly passed the observation while setting aside an acquittal order passed by the Karnatakta High Court in a murder case on the ground that the testimony of the child witness was not reliable.
In this case Shantappa and three of his associates were sentenced to life imprisonment after the former allegedly strangulated his wife Annapurna at their house in Belgaun district on December 31, 1994 after accusing her of infidelity.
The murder was allegedly carried out in the presence of the couple's nine-year-old son Suresh.