Question: Can a party cross examine a witness called by him? If so, when? Give reasons. [U.P.A.P.O. 1994] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Can a party cross examine a witness called by him? If so, when? Give reasons] Answer A “hostile witness” is one who from the manner in which he gives… Read More »

Question: Can a party cross examine a witness called by him? If so, when? Give reasons. [U.P.A.P.O. 1994] Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Can a party cross examine a witness called by him? If so, when? Give reasons] Answer A “hostile witness” is one who from the manner in which he gives evidence shows that he is not desirous of telling the truth to the court Section 154 of the Indian Evidence Act says that “the Court may, in its discretion, permit...

Question: Can a party cross examine a witness called by him? If so, when? Give reasons. [U.P.A.P.O. 1994]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [Can a party cross examine a witness called by him? If so, when? Give reasons]

Answer

A “hostile witness” is one who from the manner in which he gives evidence shows that he is not desirous of telling the truth to the court

Section 154 of the Indian Evidence Act says that “the Court may, in its discretion, permit the person who calls a witness to put any questions to him which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party.

Nothing in this section shall disentitle the person so permitted under sub-section (1), to rely on any part of the evidence of such witness.”

The section confers a simple discretion upon the court to allow a party to cross-examine his own witness. In short, the rule prohibiting a party to put questions to his own witness in the manner of cross-examination or in a leading form is relaxed not because the witness has already forfeited all right to credit but because of his antipathetic attitude or otherwise, the court feels that for doing justice, his evidence will be more fully given, the truth more effectively extracted and credit more adequately tested by questions put in a more pointed, penetrating and searching way.

When a party calls for a witness and observes that the witness is hostile or he is unwilling to answer the questions asked to him then the party might obtain permission from the court to question him by way of cross-examination.

In the case of Bikram Ali Pramanik v. Emperor [ILR (1929) 57 Cal 801], it was observed that “This is clear from Section 154 itself which does not say that a person who calls a witness may cross-examine him in certain circumstances but that he might put questions to him which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party. That is not the same as cross-examining him.”

The utility of cross-examination under section 154 of the evidence act as discussed in Maharani Knirod Kumari Devi v. Ghasi Kuar, ILR 1962 Cut 767 is that by it the court can more readily get the truth out of its witness as the witness turned hostile against the party who called him.

The Hon’ble SC has noted in the case of Jagir Singh v. State, AIR 1975 SC 1400 that Where a party is allowed to cross-examine his own witness, the effect of that cross-examination must be to discredit that witness altogether and not merely to get rid of part of his testimony, and hence that witness’s evidence must be excluded altogether.

In the case of a witness for the prosecution, this means so far as it supports the case for the prosecution, for obviously the defence is entitled to rely on so much of his evidence as supports their case: otherwise, a party who found that his witness had given evidence which supported his adversary’s case could get rid of the evidence by declaring him hostile.


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 2021-11-11T15:30:20+05:30
Admin LB

Admin LB

Next Story