Madras High Court Stated That Evidence From People With Disabilities Is Not Inferior

Madras High Court
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Madras High Court
Highlights

  • The Madras High Court affirmed a lower court's decision to sentence an auto driver to seven years in prison for abducting and assaulting a blind woman in 2013.
  • The High Court stated that the disabled's testimony should not be considered inferior compared to an able and healthy-bodied person.

The Madras High Court affirmed a lower court's decision to sentence an auto driver to seven years in prison for abducting and assaulting a blind woman in 2013. The High Court stated that the disabled's testimony should not be considered inferior compared to an able and healthy-bodied person.

    In a notification issued by July 7, Judge Teekka Raman found that the law does not distinguish between able-bodied and disabled people's evidence. Her evidence cannot be deemed as inferior to that of an able-bodied individual just due to the fact that she is disabled. Raman found that doing so could be a violation of the constitutional principle of equality.

    Anbuselvan, the convict, had appealed at a Mahila Court'sjudgment upholding the allegations against him and sentenced him to seven years in prison. He was a taxi driver hired by the victim to transport her to a music school in Chennai. On the other hand, he took her to a remote location and molested her. After listening to several screams, some locals arrive there and rescued her from him.

    Anbuselvan's lawyer argued that the convict's identification had not been established as the victim is blind, she cannot be considered an 'eye witness' and must instead be recognized as a 'hearsay witness.' As a result, the attorney contended that her remarks indicting the defendant must be dismissed. The prosecutor maintained that the defendant was not the perpetrator of the crime.

    The court, however, dismissed the arguments, citing precedents set by other higher courts in similar cases. The court ruled that her blindness does notmean that she had no visual contact with the world. As a result, the victim's principal means of identifying individuals surrounding her is by the sound of their voices, and the victim's testimony is entitled to the same weight as that of a prosecutrix who might have visually identified the appellant. According to the report, some of those who helped the victim identified the convict.

    The judge stated that the victim's statement can not be rejected by the accused simply because she is visually challenged. The victim was awarded compensation of Rs. 1 lakh by the State Legal Services Authority. The convict's lawyer argued that because the victim is blind, she cannot be considered an'eye witness'and must be recognized as a 'hearsay witness.' The court said that her evidence cannot be viewed as inferior just because she is disabled.

    The convict's lawyer argued that because the victim is blind, she cannot be considered an'eye witness'and must be recognized as a 'hearsay witness.' The court said that her evidence cannot be viewed as inferior just because she is disabled.

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