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Witnesses can be cross-examined as to previous statements in writing

Nihal Thareja ,
  29 July 2020       Share Bookmark

Court :
Supreme Court of India
Brief :
The court observed that the words "to contradict him" appearing in s. 145 of the Evidence Act must carry the same meaning as the words "to contradict such witness" in s. 162 of the Code. Further, the court laid down that the witnesses can be cross-examined as to previous statements in writing or reduced into writing. The learned Judges of the High Court were justified in ruling out from their consideration that the two circumstances made it possible for the witnesses to recognise the accused. No court interference was required as there was ample opportunity otherwise for the witnesses to do so. The appeal was dismissed by the court.
Citation :
TAHSILDAR SINGH AND ANOTHER VS THE STATE OF UTTAR PRADESH 1959 COURT: SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

BENCH: Sinha, J ; Bhuvneshwar P, J

FACTS:

  • There was a music performance was attended by a large audience in front of the house of Ram Saroop of which two police informers Bankey and Asa Ram were a part of having their guns placed in a cot where Bharat Singh was sitting
  • The accused along with 15 to 20 persons suddenly arrived armed with weapons to kill the informers and stood behind a wall on the southern side and advanced firing shots.  Two persons were killed on the spot.  Bharat Singh was also shot dead and while going they carried away Bankey's gun from the cot
  • The Sessions Judge convicted the appellants under s.302 Indian Penal Code and sentenced them to death. The High court confirmed the sentence holding that no prejudice had been caused to the appellants by the disallowance of the cross-examination

ISSUE:

  • What is the scope of section 162 of Cr.P.C with respect to section 145 of the Indian Evidence Act

CONTENTIONS OF APPELLANTS:

  • That s.162 Cr.p.C  attracts provisions of  s.145 of the Evidence Act cross-examination based on the previous statement in writing
  • That s. 157 Evidence Act protects the right to prove any oral statement to contradict the testimony of any witness cannot be taken away by s. 162 Cr.P.C

JUDGEMENT:

The court observed that the words "to contradict him" appearing in s. 145 of the Evidence Act must carry the same meaning as the words "to contradict such witness" in s. 162 of the Code. Further, the court laid down that the witnesses can be cross-examined as to previous statements in writing or reduced into writing. The learned Judges of the High Court were justified in ruling out from their consideration that the two circumstances made it possible for the witnesses to recognise the accused. No court interference was required as there was ample opportunity otherwise for the witnesses to do so. The appeal was dismissed by the court.

 
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