In case of Pradeep vs State of Haryana CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 553 OF 2012
In this case, the  Sessions Court convicted the accused under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 449 and 324 read with Section 34 of IPC. The conviction, which was later upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, was based mainly on the testimony of a minor witness. The appellant-accused before the Apex Court contended that there is absolutely no corroboration to the testimony of the minor witness which is full of material contradictions and improvements and that his evidence is not reliable.

The bench comprising Justices Abhay S. Oka and Rajesh Bindal observed that  “Before recording evidence of a minor, it is the duty of a Judicial Officer to ask preliminary questions to him with a view to ascertain whether the  minor can understand the questions put to him and is in a position to give rational answers. The Judge must be satisfied that the minor is able to understand the questions and respond to them and understands the importance of speaking the truth. Therefore, the role of the Judge who records the evidence is very crucial. He has to make a proper preliminary examination of the minor by putting appropriate questions to ascertain whether the minor is capable of understanding the questions put to him and is able to give rational answers. It is advisable to record the preliminary questions and answers so that the Appellate Court can go into the correctness of the opinion of the Trial Court.”, the bench said.
The Hon’ble court also said that “A child witness of tender age is easily susceptible to tutoring. However, that by itself is no ground to reject the evidence of a child witness. The Court must make careful scrutiny of the evidence of a child witness. The Court must apply its mind to the question whether there is a possibility of the child witness being tutored. Therefore, scrutiny of the evidence of a child witness is required to be made by the Court with care and caution.”

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