Cross-examination -

         According to Section 137, para 2 of the Indian Evidence Act,1872 :   The examination of a witness by the adverse party shall be called his cross-examination . Cross-examination considered most powerful weapon. According to Philip Wendell, "Cross-Examination is double-edged weapon, if you know how to wield, it helps to cut enemy's neck Otherwise, it cuts own hands"


           It should be remembered that the witnesses must speak to facts and not to opinions inference or beliefs. A witness may be cross-examined as to previous statements made by him in writing or reduced into writing. Leading questions may be asked.


                  The object of the cross examination is to test the truth of statement made by witness, to see how far is memory is reliable or what powers of observation possesses whether he is partial or impartial, etc ; in  short it is an attempt to break down a witness or to show that his statement can not be relied upon. The object and scope of cross-examination  is twofold to weaken qualify or destroy the case of the opponent; and to establish the party's own case by means of his opponents witnesses . With this  view the witness may be asked not only as facts in issue or directly relevant thereto , but all question

(1) tending to test  his means of knowledge,

(2) tending to expose the error, of omission, contradictions and  improbabilities in the testimony or

(3) tending to impeach his  credit.

                The object of cross examination are to a impeach the accuracy,  credibility and general value of the evidence given in chief ; to sift the facts  already stated by the witness, to detect and and expose discrepancies or to elicit suppressed facts which will support the case of cross examination of party.

Case Law : 

    Sukhawant Singh v. State of U.P AIR 1995 SC 1601

              In this case the Supreme Court has held that a witness cannot be thrown open to cross-examination unless he is first examined-in-chief. Where the prosecution did not examine its witness and offered him to be cross examined, it was held that this amounted to abandoning one's own witness, there cannot be any cross-examination without the foundation of examine-in-chief.    

See also......    

1) Re-examination

2) Expert Witness

3) Examination-in-Chief 

4) Meaning of Fact and the concept of fact in Issue


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