Question: Point out the distinction between interrogatories and cross-examination, Pleadings and interrogatories. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Point out the distinction between interrogatories and cross-examination, Pleadings and interrogatories.] Answer I. Distinction between Interrogatories and cross-examination In any suit, the plaintiff or defendant by leave of the Court may deliver interrogatories in writing for the examination of… Read More »

Question: Point out the distinction between interrogatories and cross-examination, Pleadings and interrogatories. Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Point out the distinction between interrogatories and cross-examination, Pleadings and interrogatories.] Answer I. Distinction between Interrogatories and cross-examination In any suit, the plaintiff or defendant by leave of the Court may deliver interrogatories in writing for the examination of the opposite parties or any one or more of...

Question: Point out the distinction between interrogatories and cross-examination, Pleadings and interrogatories.

Find the answer only on Legal Bites. [Point out the distinction between interrogatories and cross-examination, Pleadings and interrogatories.]

Answer

I. Distinction between Interrogatories and cross-examination

In any suit, the plaintiff or defendant by leave of the Court may deliver interrogatories in writing for the examination of the opposite parties or any one or more of such parties, and such interrogatories when delivered shall have a note at the foot thereof stating which of such interrogatories each of such persons is required to answer:

Provided that no party shall deliver more than one set of interrogatories to the same party without an order for that purpose

Provided also those interrogatories which do not relate to any matters in question in the suit shall be deemed irrelevant; notwithstanding that they might be admissible on the oral cross-examination of a witness.

The object and purpose of serving interrogatories are to enable a party to require information from his opponent for the purpose of maintaining his own case and for destroying the case of the adversary. Answering the interrogatory might often shorten the trial proceedings and save the time of the court and parties, besides saving expenses for summoning witnesses, documents, and the like.

This power must not be confined within narrow limits. It should be used liberally whenever it can shorten the litigation and serve the interests of justice. Nevertheless, the power is to be exercised with great care and caution so that it is not abused by any party. Interrogatories have to be confined to the facts, which are relevant to the matters in question in the suit.

However, a Court of law will not allow a party to go on a fishing expedition or embark on a roving inquiry in the garb of interrogatories. The court cannot allow a party to ask questions in interrogatories that have neither any relevance nor nexus with the matter in issue. Questions that are intended to fill up the lacuna of cross-examination are also beyond the scope of r 1 of O XI of the Code.

The Apex Court in Raj Narain v. Indira Gandhi, AIR 1972 SC 1302, wherein it has been observed as follows: questions that may be relevant during the cross-examination are not necessarily relevant as interrogatories. The only questions that are relevant as interrogatories are those relating to any matters in question. The interrogatories served must have a reasonably close connection with the matters in question.

In Alka Singh v. Syed Sayeeduzmma Rizvi, AIR 2009 Pat 46, in an eviction suit, where the defendant by way of interrogatories had made an effort to extract something which he could not do in the course of cross-examination, the Patna High Court held that questions which are put to test the credibility of a person are not allowed as interrogatories although they may be asked in cross-examination.

Broad distinctions between the two are:

  • Interrogatories can never be asked to check the credibility of the person. However, the same can happen during the cross-examination.
  • Interrogatories can only take place with the parties involved in the case. However, cross-examination can take place with both parties as well as the witness involved in the case.
  • In interrogatories, one party can only ask questions related to any matter/issues involved in the case whereas, in cross-examination, you can ask anything as relevant to the parties involved in the case.
  • Interrogatories have a narrower scope whereas cross-examination has a broader scope.

Thus, the interrogatories must be confined to facts that are relevant to the matters in question in the suit. Interrogatories that are really in nature of cross-examination cannot be allowed.

II. Distinction between Pleadings and interrogatories

  • Interrogatories are not like pleadings confined to the material facts on which the parties rely in support of their claim or defense. Interrogatories may be administered not only to ascertain the nature of your opponent’s case, but to obtain admissions from him or everything which is material on the pleadings so as to facilitate the proof of one’s own case, and thus, save oneself the expense of proving facts admitted by one’s opponent in answer to the interrogatories. [Attorney-General v. Gaskill, (1882) 20 CD 519]
  • A party is entitled to interrogate his opponent with a view to ascertain what case he has to meet and the facts relied on and to limit the generality of the pleadings and find out what it really is in the issue. At the same time, interrogatories must be confined to facts that are relevant to the matters in question in the suit. Interrogatories that are really in nature of cross-examination will not be allowed. [Bhakta Charan Mallik v. Nataorar Mallik And Ors AIR 1991 Ori 319]
  • The object of the pleadings is to ascertain what the issues are; the object of interrogatories is not to learn what the issues are but to see whether the party who interrogates cannot obtain an admission from his opponent which will make the burden of proof easier than it otherwise would have been.

Interrogatories are not the same as pleading. They need not be material facts on which party will be relying; there can be evidence by which parties want to establish a particular fact at the trial.


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Updated On 2022-03-24T06:52:33+05:30
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