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Legal Article

Who are Witnesses and What are Their Rights in India

Introduction:

Meaning of Witness in general sense (definition):-

  1. Any individual who is present and understands or sees something.
  2. An individual or person who testifies in a court.
  3. An individual or person who presents or provides evidence.

Meaning of Witness:-

In a legal sense, a witness is a person who has knowledge about the relevant case or is an individual who claims to have or who is thought by others to have such knowledge. A witness is sworn under oath to testify his knowledge and details of the case. A witness says something to the court to support the facts and to discover the truths of the case. A witness may say anything he has seen, heard, smelled or touched the first hand.

Serving as Witness for the Prosecution:-

Often it is seen that law officers or experts serve as a witness for the prosecution in a case.

In cross-examination, a person who serves as a witness for the prosecution is questioned by the defendant. This provides an opportunity for the defendant to discover the true facts.

1.      Expert Witness:-

An expert witness is someone who has proper knowledge and skills relevant to the case at hand. An expert witness may have knowledge and skills on scientific data, handwriting and so on.

2.      Reporting Witness:-

A reporting witness testifies after the educating witness has finished his testimony. Technicians and other individuals who conduct tests on evidence are reporting witness.

3.      Hostile Witness:-

A hostile witness is one who after being called to the stand, appears unwillingly, to tell the truth. If the witness comes to the stand and refuses to answer the question then the attorney has the right to ask the judge to declare him a hostile witness.

4.      Silent Witness:-

The silent witness is related to the introduction of video recordings or photographs as proof without first having a witness verify its authenticity.

5.      Material Witness:-

The word material points to the law which refers to a fact which is evident to the case and the case may be a civil or criminal matter. Testimony of a material witness is explained as a person who has knowledge of something to determine the result of the case and for this reason, the court should make every effort to allow the witness to provide his testimony.

6. Educating Witness:

An educating witness gives a lesson or teaches the judge or jury member about the scientific theory that relates to the case.

Witness Protection:-

A witness says something to the court to support the facts and to discover the truths of the case. A witness may say anything he has seen, heard, smelled or touched the first hand. A witness is provided with witness protection throughout the trial process and also after the trial process in some cases. Witness protection is provided by the local police and other law enforcement.

Witness has the following rights:

  1. A witness has the right to the prohibition of questioning.
  • Witness has right to refuse testimony.
  • He has the right to be testified in a language he knows or in his mother language.
  • Witness has the right to take an interpreter.
  • He or she has the right to take legal assistance.
  • Has a right to information.
  • Witness has the right to conceal his identity.
  • Right to travel expenses and lost profit.
  • Witness has the right to enter the court through a separate entrance.

Conclusion:

  A witness is the important person of the administration of justice. There are many rights given to a witness some of which are discussed above. A witness helps the competent court to discover the truth.  A witness takes all the pain and sacrifices his time and travel to the court to give evidence. So, it is necessary to respect a witness.

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