Cross-examination couldn’t be allowed when questions had no connection with the case

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  • Last Updated on 4 November, 2022

Cross-examination of witnesses

Case Details: Kanwal Nain Singh Mokha v. Rekha Khurana - [2022] 143 275 (HC-Delhi)

Judiciary and Counsel Details

    • Ms Asha Menon, J.
    • Praveen Suri, Adv. for the Petitioner.
    • Gurpreet Singh, Adv. for the Respondent.

Facts of the Case

In the instant case, the question was placed before the High Court as to whether cross-examination of witnesses could be allowed when questions were irrelevant and had no connection with the case.

The petitioner’s case was that he had given a certain friendly loan to the accused. In order to discharge the said loan, the accused issued a cheque which got dishonoured. Thereafter, the petitioner filed a complaint u/s 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 against the respondent.

The petitioner sought an opportunity to ask questions and to further cross-examine the son of the accused, who was examined as a defence witness. In this regard, the questions put during the cross-examination were as follows –

(a) Whether the accused/witness/or his wife had taken a friendly loan from any other person? and

(b) Whether another case against the wife of the witness was pending before the Trial Court?

The Trial Court disallowed the said questions. Thereafter, an appeal was preferred to the High Court against the order passed by the Trial Court.

High Court Held

The High Court observed that said questions were absolutely irrelevant and had no connection with the instant case as an answer, either way, would not help in arriving at a decision in the instant case. Further, the High Court observed that Trial Court ought to have considered the relevancy of the question in terms of Section 5 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.

The High Court held that where the Court came to a conclusion that a question, particularly, in cross-examination is irrelevant or prompted by such motives such as harassment or annoyance to the witness or delaying the conclusion of cross-examination of the witnesses by embarking on a rambling course, Trial Court was well empowered to put to an end to such questioning.

Further, the High Court held that during examination-in-chief or cross-examination, only such questions must be allowed which are relevant to the matter at hand and to rival stands, elucidating or disproving the rival cases.

In view of the above, it was held that cross-examination of witnesses couldn’t be allowed when questions were irrelevant and had no connection with the case. Accordingly, the appeal was to be dismissed.

List of Cases Reviewed

    • Complaint Case No. 19224/2016, dated 7-5-2022 (para 19) affirmed.

List of Cases Referred to

    • R.K. Chandolia v. CBI 2012 SCC Online Delhi 2047 (para 8)
    • Pepsi Foods Ltd. v. Special Judicial Magistrate [1998] 5 SCC 749 (para 9).

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