Meaning of Hostile Witness -
The hostile witness is also called adverse Witness. The word hostile means unfriendly and a witness is generally expected to give evidence in favor of the party by whom he is called. But in certain cases, such witness may unexpectedly turn hostile and gives evidence or make statements against the interest of the party, who has called him. Such witness is called "hostile witness"
Section 154 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872(IEA)speaks about Hostile witness, said Section deals with Questions by party to his own witness.
Section 154 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872 runs as follows -
"The Court may, in its discretion, permit the person who calls a witness to put any question to him which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party".
Satpal vs Delhi administration AIR 1976 - In this case Supreme court held that the hostile witness is described as one who is not desirous of telling the truth at the instance of the party calling him unfavourable witness is one called by the party to prove a particular fact, who fails to prove such fact or proves an opposite fact.
In this case the officer was charged with taking bribe. A trap was laid by Inspector of anti-corruption department. The office of the accused was raided immediately. The evidence of the witnesses who participated in the trap as also of Inspector, was rejected because they were interested in the success of their trap. The other two independent witnesses who also made contradictory statement and the prosecution itself had cross-examined them with the permission of the court.
Court laid down in a number of cases that even when a witness is cross-examined by the party who called him, his evidence cannot be treated as Washed off from off from the record altogether the court can still rely upon that the pa of testimony of the witnesses who inspires confidence of credit
See also -
Exclusion of Oral by Documentary Evidence
How many witnesses are required to prove fact?
Procedure for holding Identification parade
What is Dying Declaration