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Question: How would the court decide that a particular question is proper or improper? [UPJS 2023]Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [How would the court decide that a particular question is proper or improper?]AnswerClause (3) of Section 146 of the Evidence Act permits one to ask questions in cross-examination of a witness to shake his credit by injuring his character, although the answer to such question might tend directly or indirectly to criminate him or expose...

Question: How would the court decide that a particular question is proper or improper? [UPJS 2023]

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. [How would the court decide that a particular question is proper or improper?]

Answer

Clause (3) of Section 146 of the Evidence Act permits one to ask questions in cross-examination of a witness to shake his credit by injuring his character, although the answer to such question might tend directly or indirectly to criminate him or expose him to penalty or forfeiture. However it is equally important to keep in mind that assault on the character of a witness must be directed only for the purpose of shaking his credit, the above-mentioned section does not permit all sorts of questions, and the court will always be vigilant to see whether a question of cross-examiner is proper or not and for this, the court will be guided by provisions of Section 148 of Indian Evidence Act which says:

"If any such question relates to matter not relevant to suit or proceedings except in so far as it affects the credit of witness by injuring his character, the court shall decide whether or not the witness shall be compelled to answer it and may if it thinks fit warn the witness that he is not obliged to answer it. In exercising its discretion, the court shall have regard to the following considerations:
(1) Such questions are proper if they are of such nature that the truth of imputation conveyed by them would seriously affect the opinion of the court as to the credibility of the witness on the matter to which he testifies
(2) Such questions are improper if the imputation which they convey relates to matters so remote in time or of such character that the truth of the imputation would not affect or would affect in a slight degree the opinion of the court as to the credibility of witnesses on the matters to which he testifies.
(3) Such questions are improper if there is a great disproportion between the importance of imputation made against the witness's character and the importance of his evidence.
(4) The Court may if it sees fit, draw from the witness's refusal to answer the inference that the answer if given would be unfavourable.”

So under section 148 Court is confined to the delicate and responsible work of allowing or disallowing the question which is otherwise not relevant in the proceeding but is asked with the view of injuring the character of the witness Section 149 of the Act further provides that the court will not allow any question to be asked to injure the character of the witness unless the person asking it has reasonable ground for thinking that the imputation which it conveys is well founded.

Section 151 of the Evidence Act also provides that the court may forbid any question or inquiries that it regards as indecent or scandalous although such questions or inquiries may have some bearing on the question before the court unless they relate to facts in issue or to matters necessary to be known in order to determine whether or not the facts in issue existed. Similarly, Section 152 says the court shall not allow any question which appears to be intended to insult or annoy or is offensive in form.

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Mayank Shekhar

Mayank Shekhar

Mayank is an alumnus of the prestigious Faculty of Law, Delhi University. Under his leadership, Legal Bites has been researching and developing resources through blogging, educational resources, competitions, and seminars.

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