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Coverage of this article

  • Key Takeaways
  • Introduction
  • Crpc India, Act No. 2 Of 1974
  • Power Of The Courts
  • Courts Of Session
  • Judicial Magistrates Of The First Class And, In Any Metropolitan Area, Metropolitan Magistrates
  • Judicial Magistrates Of The Second Class
  • Executive Magistrates
  • The Examinations In Brief
  • Rules Of The Examination
  • Chief Examining Officer
  • Tiruchirappalli Superintendent Of Police V. K. Anbazhagan (2015)
  • State Of Gujarat And Others V. Zahira Habibullah Sheikh And Others (2004)
  • Conclusion

Key Takeaways

  • The Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) is a comprehensive law that governs criminal justice in India, covering aspects such as police powers, arrest, trial procedures, evidence, and sentencing. 
  • The CrPC empowers the court to summon witnesses and question them at any stage of an inquiry, trial, or other proceedings. All states in India have their own classes of criminal courts to ensure the administration of justice at the state level.
  • Examinations in criminal court are conducted to elicit facts from witnesses, such as Examination-in-Chief, Cross-examination, and Re-Examination.
  • In both civil and criminal cases, the testimony of witnesses is crucial, and the specifics of Sections 135 and 138 of the Indian Evidence Act assist the judiciary in thoroughly investigating the facts.


The Code of Criminal Procedure (CRPC) is a procedural law that governs the administration of criminal justice in India. It covers various aspects of criminal procedure, including the powers and duties of the police, arrest, and detention of individuals, bail, investigation procedures, filing of charge sheets, trial procedures, evidence gathering and presentation, sentencing, appeals, and execution of sentences.

Examinations play a crucial role in the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) as they are instrumental in allowing the court to obtain firsthand information about the alleged crime, establish the truth, cross-examine witnesses, protect the rights of the accused and other parties involved, and adjudicate cases. 

CrPC India, Act No. 2 OF 1974

In the twenty-fourth year of the Republic of India, the Act to Consolidate and amend the Law relating to criminal procedure was passed by Parliament. All of India is covered by it, with the exception of Jammu and Kashmir. The State of Nagaland and tribal areas are exempt from the Code's provisions, with the exception of those related to Chapters VIII, X, and XI, though the State Government may still do so with the necessary modifications.

The definitions of bailable and non-bailable offences, charges, cognizable offences, complaints, and any other charges are the most important elements of this Code.

["Non-cognizable offense" and "non-cognizable case" refer to crimes for which a police officer lacks the legal authority to make an arrest without a warrant]

  • Offenses that are listed as being subject to bail in the First Schedule or that are otherwise made bailable fall under this category. Any other offenses are non-bailable offenses.
  • Any claim made to a magistrate that someone has committed an offense is a complaint; a police report is not included.
  • All crimes must be enquired into, tried for, and punished in accordance with the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860).

Power of the Courts

In accordance with Section 311 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court may call any person as a witness, question them at "any stage" of "any inquiry," "any trial," or "any other proceedings," or summon any person as a witness.

All states of India shall have the following types of criminal courts in addition to the High Courts and other specialized courts created by (CrPC): 

 Courts of Session

(1) A Court of Session must be established by the State Government for each session’s division.

(2) A judge, to be chosen by the High Court, shall preside over each Court of Session.

(3) In order to exercise jurisdiction in a Court of Session, the High Court may also appoint Additional Sessions Judges and Assistant Sessions Judges.

 Judicial Magistrates of the First Class and, in any metropolitan area, Metropolitan Magistrates

Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, and Ahmedabad have been designated as metropolitan areas and are the president's home cities. There must be as many Courts of Metropolitan Magistrates, chosen by the High Court, in each metropolitan area. The High Court shall designate a Judicial Magistrate of the First Class to serve as the Chief Judicial Magistrate in each district (other than a metropolitan area).

 Judicial Magistrates of the Second Class

Although they are also district-level appointees, these magistrates have less authority than the Judicial Magistrates of First Class. They can impose less severe punishments and deal with less serious offenses.

Executive Magistrates

Any Executive Magistrate appointed by the state government may serve as an Additional District Magistrate, and that Magistrate shall have all of the authority of a District Magistrate under this Code and any other laws currently in effect.

A sentence of imprisonment for a term not to exceed three years, a fine not to exceed [ten thousand rupees], or both may be imposed by the court of a magistrate of the first class. A sentence of imprisonment for a term not to exceed one year, a fine not to exceed [five thousand rupees], or both may be imposed by the Court of Magistrate of the Second Class.

The Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Court will have the same authority as the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court and the Metropolitan Magistrate Court.

The Examinations in Brief

Examinations in criminal court (CrPC) are conducted by various individuals involved in the legal process to elicit facts from the witnesses. For example- 

  • Examination-in-Chief is the initial examination conducted by the party presenting the witness and is meant to present the witness's version of events and establish the prosecution's case. 
  • Cross-examination is conducted by the opposing party to question the witness who has already been examined-in-chief.
  • Re-Examination is conducted by the party who initially examined the witness-in-chief, following the cross-examination.
  • Examination of the Accused is an opportunity for the accused to present their defense, explain their version of events, and respond to the prosecution's allegations. 
  • Examination of Experts involves questioning them about their qualifications, methodology, and findings. 
  • Examination of the Complainant is an opportunity for the complainant to present their side of the story, provide details about the alleged offense, and corroborate the prosecution's case.

Rules of the Examination

The Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) Order XVIII contains guidelines for witness examination. The rules mentioned are listed below in brief:

  • Rule 4: Copies of the affidavit used to conduct the witness examination are given to the opposing party. The Court or a Commissioner it has appointed will conduct the examination. The Commissioner submits the evidence and a written report along with the witness statements, which are either manually or in writing recorded.
  • Rule 5: In appealable cases, this rule specifies how evidence should be collected. It may be written down in the language of the Court, typed directly on a typewriter, or recorded in the courtroom with the parties present.
  • Rule 6: If the testimony is given in a language other than the witness' native tongue, the testimony must be translated and given to the witness in that language.
  • Rule 7: The form required by Rule 5 of Order XVIII must be followed when recording evidence under Section 138 of the Indian Evidence Act. Any necessary corrections are made after reading, signing, and reviewing the evidence.
  • Rule 8: Each witness' testimony must be summarized by the judge and signed before it is added to the record if the evidence is not recorded in writing or in their presence.
  • Rule 9: If all parties are present and English is not the official tongue of the Court, the evidence may be recorded in English.
  • Rule 10: If there is a special reason, the Court may consider a party's application regarding a particular question or objection to a question.

The court has the authority to order or command how witnesses will be produced under Section 135 of the Indian Evidence Act. The next witness is called for examination after the previous witness has finished his or her cross-examination. Additionally, after their questioning is over, witnesses are not permitted to stay in the courtroom. The witness should be asked to leave if he stays in the courtroom. If a witness is present while another witness is being cross-examined, the judge will only make a note that the witness was present in the courtroom during the other witness's cross-examination.

Chief Examining Officer

While the Indian Evidence Act's Section 138 specifies the order of chief examination, cross-examination, and re-examination. The first witness examination following the oath is known as the "examination in chief." It is the situation in which a party calls a witness for a primary examination with the aim of getting all relevant information that the witness is aware of and that tends to support the party's case (Direct examination) which was expanded in the case of –

Tiruchirappalli Superintendent of Police v. K. Anbazhagan (2015)

 The Madras High Court ruled in this case that the primary goal of a witness's cross-examination should be to elicit pertinent facts and information without using leading questions. It emphasized how crucial it is to follow the right examination procedures in order to guarantee the fairness and dependability of the evidence.

The chief examination will end, and then the cross-examination will start. During the cross-examination, the defense attorney asks the prosecutor cross-questions, as well as asks the defendant a leading question that was not permitted during the opening examination.  The defendant reviews each witness statement during the cross-examination before asking a cross-question regarding one of the ones that were made during the main examination. For instance-

State of Gujarat and Others v. Zahira Habibullah Sheikh and Others (2004): 

The significance of an effective cross-examination as a fundamental right of the accused was highlighted in this case. The right to cross-examine witnesses, should not be restricted or denied because it is crucial to a fair trial.

In civil cases, witnesses must appear in court within 15 days of the date on which the issues are framed, and the parties are required to submit a list of the witnesses. The magistrate has the authority to summon any individual as a witness or require him to produce any document in criminal cases.


In conclusion, various types of examinations are allowed in criminal cases under the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).  The party calling the witness can present their case and elicit relevant data through an examination-in-chief. During cross-examination, the opposing party has the chance to query and refute the witness's testimony. The party who called the witness has the opportunity to address any points brought up during cross-examination during re-examination. The testimony of the witnesses is crucial regardless of whether the case is civil or criminal in nature, and both procedural law and substantive law describe the testimony of the witnesses. The Indian Evidence Act's sections 135,138 to name a few describe how to question witnesses. They support the adversarial structure of the justice system, enabling a complete investigation of the facts.


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