Question: What is the principle behind the asking of leading questions? Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is the principle behind the asking of leading questions?] Answer Section 141 of the Indian Evidence Act defines leading questions. It says that “Any question suggesting the answer which the person putting it wishes or… Read More »

Question: What is the principle behind the asking of leading questions? Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is the principle behind the asking of leading questions?] Answer Section 141 of the Indian Evidence Act defines leading questions. It says that “Any question suggesting the answer which the person putting it wishes or expects to receive, is called a leading question.” “A question is objectionable as leading when it suggests the answers, not when...

Question: What is the principle behind the asking of leading questions?

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [What is the principle behind the asking of leading questions?]

Answer

Section 141 of the Indian Evidence Act defines leading questions. It says that “Any question suggesting the answer which the person putting it wishes or expects to receive, is called a leading question.”

“A question is objectionable as leading when it suggests the answers, not when it merely directs the attention of the witness to the subject respecting which he is questioned. e.g., on a question of whether A and B were partners, it has been held not a leading question to ask if A has interfered in the business of B…..It should never be forgotten that leading is a relative, not an absolute term.

There is no such thing as “leading” in the abstract, for the identical form of questions which would be leading of the grossest kind in one case or state of facts, might not only be unobjectionable but the very fittest mode of interrogation in another.”

In the case of Steer v. Little [44 NH 616], it was said by Chief Justice Bell that “A question is leading where the question assumes any fact which is in controversy, so that the answer may really or apparently admit that fact.

Such is the forked questions habitually put by some counsel if unchecked; as, ‘what was the plaintiff doing when the defendant struck him?’, the controversy is whether the defendant did strike. A dull or a forward witness may answer the first part of the question and neglect the last.”

“Leading questions can be freely asked in cross-examination:

  1. First, and principally, on the supposition that the witness has a bias in favour of the party bringing him forward, and hostile to his opponent.
  2. Secondly, that the party calling a witness has an advantage over his adversary, in knowing beforehand what the witness will prove, or at least is expected to prove; and that consequently, if he were allowed to lead, he might interrogate in such a manner as to extract only so much of the knowledge of the witness as would be favourable to his side, or even put a false gloss upon the whole.”

The principle behind allowing leading questions to be put to during the proceedings of a case was discussed in the case of Sri L.P. v. Inspector General of Police [(1954) All LJ 316], it was said that:

“The reason why leading questions are allowed to be put to an adverse witness in cross-examination is that the purpose of a cross-examination is to test the accuracy, credibility and general value of the evidence given, and to shift the facts already stated by the witness, it sometimes becomes necessary for a party to put leading questions in order to elicit facts in support of his case, even though the facts so elicited may be entirely unconnected with facts testified to in an examination-in-chief.

Where a general order is made that no leading questions shall be allowed in cross-examination, the order is illegal and vitiates the trial.”


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-11-04T17:49:20+05:30
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