Section 134 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

Comments:

As per section 134 no particular number of witnesses shall be required to prove the facts of any case. Even testimony of a single witness is sufficient if the court considers it worthy even without corroboration. It depends upon the nature and circumstances of a case. Material evidence and number of witnesses have to be taken note of by the courts to ascertain truth of allegation made.

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The Supreme Court describes the testimony of sole witness is dependable. Where there is only a solitary eye-witness it is reliable. It is the quality not the quantity of evidence required by the court to pronounce its judgment. Numerical superiority is not the test of credibility of a party’s evidence. When the testimony of eye-witness examined is cogent, confident and rediable, non-examination of his brother, sister or few others who had gathered near the house of deceased after the incident is of no significance and does not affect credibility of testimony of the said witness.

In order to sustain an order of conviction on the basis of testimony of a solitary witness, such evidence must be clear, cogent and convincing and should be of an unimpeachable character. The prosecution examined three injured witnesses but not two others in the same category. The court held this could not lead to the inference adverse to the prosecution because there is no compulsion as the number of witnesses.

Single witness:

It is the general rule of English Law that witnesses are weighted and not counted (Ponderantur tests non-nemerantur). The court can and may act the testimony of a single witness even though it is uncorroborated. The credibility of witness may be given weightages than that of testimony of a number of other witnesses. The conviction can be based on the testimony of single witness if found wholly reliable. Offences under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance Act, 1985 may be punished on the basis of seizing authority. The evidence has to be weighed and not to be counted and the court is concerned with the quality and not the quantity of evidence. There is no legal impediment in convicting a person on sole testimony of a solitary witness, provided he is wholly reliable.