Section 141 to Section 143 of Chapter -X, Part III of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 deals with leading questions. Section 142 and Section 143 provides circumstances under which the leading Questions may be asked or may not be asked. Leading Questions have been defined under section 141 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872.

Meaning:  


     The expression "Leading Questions" literally means a question which itself suggest answer. As expected by the person asked the same, any questions which leads to answer, or a question which is pregnant with the answer. 


Definition:

              Section 141 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 defines 'Leading Questions' as, “Any questions suggesting the answer which the person putting it wishes or expects to receive is called a leading question."

Bentham:
             Bentham defines leading questions as," A question is a leading one, when it indicates to the witness the real or supposed fact which the examiner expects and desires to have confirmed by the answer.

Examples   
           a) Is your name so and so?  

           b) Do you reside in such and such a place?

           c) Are you not in service of such and such person?

           d) Have you not lived with him for so many years?

           e) Did you see him enter X's office and take a file?

          It is clear that under this form every sort of information may be conveyed to the witness in disguise. It may be used to prepare him to give the desired answers to the questions about to be put to him; the examiner, while he pretends ignorance and is asking for information is, in reality, giving instead of receiving it.


Taylor: 
         According to Taylor "A Leading question, in other words, is one which suggests to the witness the answer desired or which embodying a material fact, admits of a conclusive answer by a simple negative or affirmative."

              It is a question framed in such manner that it throws a hint as to or suggests directly indirectly, the answer which the examiner desires to elicit from the witness, e.g., when a witness called to testify to an alleged assault on A by B is asked, " Did you see B take a stick and Strike A "? Or did you not hear him say this.

When leading Questions must not be asked?


                     According to Section 142 of Indian Evidence Act, leading questions may not be asked in Examination-in-chief, or in a Re-examination, except with the permission of the Court.

Section 142 run as follows:

            Leading questions must not, if objected to by the adverse party, be asked in an examination-in-chief, or in re-examination, except with the permission of the Court.

           The court shall permit questions as to matters which are introductory or undisputed or which have, in its opinion been already sufficiently proved.

When Leading Questions may be asked?

                   Leading questions may be asked in the following cases.

1) According to Section 143 of the Indian Act, Leading Questions may be asked in cross-examination.
2) Under Section 142- In Examination-in-chief, Leading questions can only be asked with the permission of Court in certain matters.  

3) When the witness has defective memory, it may be agitated by a few leading questions.

4)  When the object of the leading question is to contradict another witness as to the expressions used by him but at which denies having asked, the witness may be asked leading questions.

Objection to Leading Questions:

                  Objection to leading question is not that they are illegal but only that they are unfair. The rule excluding leading questions is intended to prevent unfairness in the conduct of the inquiry. The Act gives absolute discretion to the court to allow or disallow leading questions.




See also 

1) When opinions of third persons are relevant. (Expert opinion)

2) What is Admission ? Various provisions relating to admission

3) Hearsay Evidence is No Evidence !

4) Extra Judicial Confession

5) Burden of proof

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