Question: When can the evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity be excluded? Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [When can the evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity be excluded?] Answer According to Section 153 of the Indian Evidence Act, ‘if a witness has answered a question as to his… Read More »

Question: When can the evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity be excluded? Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [When can the evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity be excluded?] Answer According to Section 153 of the Indian Evidence Act, ‘if a witness has answered a question as to his credit (i.e. affecting his character), whatever be his answer, no evidence is allowed to be given to contradict his answer. But, if...

Question: When can the evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity be excluded?

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [When can the evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity be excluded?]

Answer

According to Section 153 of the Indian Evidence Act, ‘if a witness has answered a question as to his credit (i.e. affecting his character), whatever be his answer, no evidence is allowed to be given to contradict his answer. But, if the answer given by him is false, he may afterwards be prosecuted for giving false evidence’.

Evidence to contradict relevant facts

Where a fact which is relevant as having a direct bearing on the issue is denied by a witness, it may certainly be proved by extraneous evidence, and his answer may thus be contradicted by independent evidence.

So the statement of a witness for the defence that a witness for the prosecution was at a particular place at a particular time and consequently then he would not have been at another place, where the latter states he was and saw the accused person, is properly admissible in evidence.

Illustrations

  1. A claim against an underwriter is resisted on the ground of fraud. The claimant is asked whether, in a former transaction, he had not made a fraudulent claim. He denies it. Evidence is offered to show that he did make such a claim. The evidence is inadmissible.
  2. A witness is asked whether he was not dismissed from a situation for dishonesty. He denies it. Evidence is offered to show that he was dismissed for dishonesty. The evidence is inadmissible.

In these illustrations, no evidence can be given to contradict a witness, but, as the answer is false, he may be prosecuted for giving false evidence (under Section 193, IPC).

Exception 1, Section 153: If a witness is asked whether he has been previously convicted of any crime and he denies it, evidence may be given of his previous conviction.

Exception 2, Section 153: If a question is asked to impeach the impartiality of a witness and he denies the suggestion contained in the question, his answer may be contradicted. Thus, a party may call evidence to show that a witness on the other side has given his evidence out of an ulterior motive (bribery, malice or revenge).

A is asked whether his family has not had a blood feud with the family of B against whom he gives evidence. He denies it. He may be contradicted on the ground that the question tends to impeach his impartiality [Illustration (d)].

Illustration (c) lays down another exception to Section 153. Where a fact, which is relevant as having direct bearing at the issue, is denied by a witness, his answer may be contradicted by independent evidence.

For example, A affirms that on a certain day he saw B at Lahore. A is asked whether he himself was not on that day at Calcutta. He denies it. Evidence is offered to show that A was on that day at Calcutta. The evidence is admissible, not as contradicting A on a fact which affects his credit, but as contradicting the alleged fact that B was seen on the day in question in Lahore.

Anything about which the witness has not been questioned so that there is no answer which could be contradicted, no evidence could be allowed to contradict the witness otherwise [State of Karnataka v R. Yarappa Reddy AIR 2000 SC 185].

Principle

It is obvious that questions, asked merely to discredit a witness by injuring his character, introduce matters altogether foreign to the enquiry, and that if the controversy about the matter so introduced is allowed the Court would be occupied with deciding not the merits of the case but merits of the witness and, thus suit might be indefinitely protracted.

Scope

Where a fact inquired after is collateral to the issue, and for instance, the character of a witness, the counsel must be contented with the answer which the witness chooses to give.

If he denies the imputation the answer is conclusive for the purpose of the suit as under illustrations (a) and (b). The matter cannot be carried further at the trial. The only remedy which the party cross-examining has is to charge the witness for perjury and try him for that.

Exception-1: Previous conviction

Under the first exception of the section, a witness denies that he has been previously convicted his previous conviction may be proved to refuse it.

It was clarified in the case of Kamal Kanto Dass v. State, AIR 1959 Cal. 342, the proper proof of previous conviction by the production of a copy of the order of conviction issued and certified under the hand of the officer having the custody of the record of the Court in which such conviction was had or of a certificate signed by the officer-in-charge of the jail in which the punishment or any part of it was inflicted.

Where the witness who was questioned whether he was not an active criminal and whether he was not under police surveillance denied the suggestions and the evidence given to contradict him had nothing to do with previous conviction, it was held that the evidence was not admissible.

Exception-2: Questions impeaching impartiality

Exception 2 lays down that if a witness is asked a question showing that he is not impartial and if he denies that, evidence may be given to impeach his impartiality.

A party may call evidence to show that a witness on the other side has given his evidence in a particular case from some corrupt or indirect motive, as bribery, malice or revenge; or has given it under the influence of some bias in favour of, or against, one of the parties whereby suspicion is cast on the honesty of his evidence.

In this case, in the murder trial, it was alleged that the husband of the eye witness and the accused’s father had a loan transaction on which they later fall out. However, the eyewitness was not asked about the alleged loan transaction. Her evidence cannot be contradicted by citing other witnesses who said about such a transaction.


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 2021-11-12T11:33:55+05:30
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