January 23, 2022


Who is a witness?

A witness is a person who has some knowledge about the matter . He gives evidences in the court which is given on oath or affirmation.


Section 136 talks about the order and production of witness . Judges under section 136 has the power for admissibility of evidences given by the witness .


Under section 137 there are 3 stages of examination of witness.

  • Examination in chief: when the party who calls the witness and examines him themselves, is known a examination is Chief.
  • Cross examination: Examination of the witness by the adverse party is known is cross examination. According to section 143 , the leading questions are asked .
  • Re-examination: examination of the witness by the party who calls him, subsequent to the cross examination. A witness has to be first examined in chief to be cross examined else it is not permissible in law. [1]

The order of the examination of the witness is laid down is Section 138. The witness shall be first examined in examination in chief, then cross examined and then re examined.

Section 139 states that a person does not become a witness by a mere fact that he produces the document and cannot be cross examined.

What is a leading question?

It is a question which in itself suggests an answer. Section 141 of the Indian Evidence Act Defines the leading question as “ any question suggesting the answers which the person putting it wishes or expects to receive is called a leading question.” The leading questions are asked in cross examination. They can be asked in examination -in-chief or cross examination only after taking permission from the court.


Section 145 allows cross examination of witness with the previous statement that is made by him or reduced in writing.

This section is exception to the rule that the content of the writing cannot be used unless the writing in itself is produced. A witness can only be contradicted by the previous statements made by him , not the statements made subsequently.[2]

Section 146 talks about the cross examination of the witness , certain other question can be asked which :

  • Checks the veracity of the witness.
  • discover the identity
  • Shakes his character by injuring his character.

If any question is asked , that is not relevant to that of the proceedings , except it affects the credit of the witness by affecting the character of the witness, the court shall secede whether the witness can be compelled to answer the question or not in accordance to section 148 of the Indian Evidence Act.

No question can be asked without a reasonable ground under section 149.

Illustration: A barrister is instructed by the vakil that the witness is dacait. This is a reasonable ground for the asking the witness whether he is dacait.

If any such question is asked without any reasonable ground, whether it is asked by any barrister, pleader, vakil or attorney reports such circumstances to the High court or report to such authority where they are in exercise to their profession in accordance with section 150.

Any scandalous question or any question which is indecent, such question may be forbidden by the court.[3] All those questions are forbidden by the court under section 152 which insult or annoy or offensive in form.


Under Section 153 , Whenever any witness has been asked any question which is relevant to the enquiry and which tends to shake his credit , no further evidence can be given to contradict him, But in case the witness has given false evidences, he may be charged for false evidences.

There are 2 exceptions to this rule.:

If the witness has been previously convicted of any crime and if denies the same , evidences may be given of his previous convictions,

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


A claim against an underwriter is resisted on the ground of fraud. Here the claimant is asked whether, in a former transaction, he had not made a fraudulent claim . He denies it. Evidence is made to show that he did make such a claim . this evidence is inadmissible.


Section 155 deals with the manner , the credit of the witness may be impeached. It can be impeached in the manner:

  • By the evidence of the person who testifies that , from their knowledge of the witness, the witness is unworthy of credit.
  • By any proof that the witness has been bribed or any inducement to give evidences.
  • By proof of the former statement inconsistent with any part of his evidence which can be contradicted., only to extend permitted by section 153.


.[1] Sharadamma v Renchamma AIR 2007 Kant. 17

.[2] Mishri Lal v State of MP , 2005 10 SCC 701

.[3] Section 151 Indian Evidence Act,1872

Author Details: Muskan Kapoor (BBA LLB Student, Himachal Pradesh National Law University, Shimla)

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