Exception 2: If a witness is asked

Exception 1:

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

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Exception 2:

If a witness is asked any question tending to impeach his impartiality, and answers it by denying the facts suggested, he may be contradicted.

Illustrations:

(a) 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.

(b) 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 not admissible.

(c) A affirms that on a certain day he saw  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  was seen on the day in question in Lahore.

In each of these cases the witness might, if his denial was false, be charged with giving false evidence.

(d) A is asked whether his family has not had a blood feud with the family of  against whom he gives evidence.

He denies it. He may be contradicted on the ground that the question tends to impeach his impartiality.

Comments:

Object. Section 153 provides further protection to a witness from being injuring his character as well as to prevent prolong trial to an unreasonable period. Under this section “the court must not be forced to concentrate its mind to assess the witness without assessing the merit of the case.” Because the court is to find the facts of the case not to assess the character of a witness.

Principle:

When a witness gives answer to a question as to his credit then it is conclusive and no further evidence is allowed to be given to contradict it except few specific cases.

Evidence contradicting witness:

Where there is merit of the case and the relevant fact having direct connection with issue which is denied by the witness in cross-examination, the defence has right to establish contradiction by producing extraneous evidence so that the witness may not take any advantage.

Under section 155(3) “the credit of a witness may be impeached by his former contradicting statement. But the contradicting statement should not be a mere minor discrepancy. The contradiction, discrepancy or inconsistency must be such as to afford the credibility of the witness. According to the Illustration (c) the evidence of independent witness is admissible. For the purpose of contradicting a witness the defence may request the witness to be recalled.” When the object of producing evidence is not merely to discredit a witness by injuring his character but is to shake the credit of the witness by showing that the version was untrue and improbable, such evidence is covered by Illustration (c) of Section 153 of the Evidence Act and is relevant.” The accused can offer evidence showing that person produced as eye-witness was at different place at the material time than at the place of occurrence. It is of no consequence that the inquest report showed his presence at the site of occurrence.

Exception 1:

Under this exception if the witness denies his previous conviction of any crime, it can be proved by evidence. He may afterwards be prosecuted for giving false evidence under section 193 of the Indian Penal Code.

Exception 2:

Under exception 2 if a witness is asked a question showing that he is not impartial and he denied it, the evidence is allowed to be given to prove his impartiality. Whereas “Section 153 generally deals with the exclusion of evidence to contradict answers to the questions testing veracity, Exception 2 states that if a witness is asked any question tending to impeach his impartiality and answer by denying the facts suggested, he may be contradicted.” It may be said that Section 153 controls Section 146(3) of the Evidence Act. Because, under section 146(3) a witness may be questioned which tends to shake his credit by injuring his character in addition to the relevant questions relating to the issue.

When contradictions arise out of lengthy and arduous cross-examination and there is every possibility of the witness committing mistake, the Supreme Court appreciated such type of fulfilling tactics of the cross-examination.