Probative Value of Eye Witnesses Testimony in Criminal Justice System

  • Aditi Sharma and Abhiranjan Dixit
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  • Aditi Sharma

    Student at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

  • Abhiranjan Dixit

    Assistant Professor at Law College Dehradun, Uttaranchal University, Dehradun, Uttarakhand, India

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The criminal trial of an accused in India largely resides on the strength of the evidence provided by eyewitnesses. Over the recent decades, the credibility of eyewitness testimony in enabling successful prosecution of guilty accused and the avoidance of wrongful conviction of an innocent accused has become a subject of intense scrutiny. This is because eyewitnesses rely upon fallible human memory and perception for the provision of information. This article deals with the topic of eyewitness testimony. It first examines the substantive law, psychological theories as well as judicial perspectives regarding eyewitness testimonies. It describes how eyewitness testimonies are regulated by statutes, namely the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Further, it discusses the role of the Supreme Court of India in refining the substantive law through landmark judgments and judgmental guidelines; this development has aimed at promoting a better and reliable version of testimony. Secondly, the article explores the psychological (perception and memory) underpinning of eyewitness testimony and provides insight into the myriad factors, such as stress, trauma and time passage, which erode the accuracy of eyewitness. Third, the article considers the legal theory surrounding the admissibility and credibility of eyewitness testimony. The focus of this part is on the law regarding evidentiary requirement or testimony corroboration and scrutiny to reduce the risk of false convictions. Finally, it elucidates the strategies for improving the reliability of eyewitness testimony through recourse to forensic science, technological evolution and legal reforms, such as the employment of DNA evidence for corroboration; video recording of the testimony; digital reconstruction of the crime scene; witness protection programmes; and training programs for law enforcement officers in cognitive interviewing.




International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 7, Issue 2, Page 3215 - 3231


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