Monday, 25 December 2017

Whether court commissioner can declare witness hostile?

 The next question that has been raised is about the power of the Commissioner to declare a witness hostile. Order XVIII Rule 4(4) requires that any objection raised during the recording of evidence before the Commissioner shall be recorded by him and decided by the Court at the stage of arguments. Order XVIII Rule 4(8) stipulates that the provisions of Rules 16, 16-A, 17 and 18 of Order XXVI, in so far as they are applicable, shall apply to the issue, execution and return of such commission thereunder. The discretion to declare a witness hostile has not been conferred on the Commissioner. Under section 154 of the Evidence Act, it is the Court which has to grant permission, in its discretion, to a person who calls a witness, to put any question to that witness which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party. The powers delegated to the Commissioner under Order XXVI Rules 16, 16-A, 17 and 18 do not include the discretion that is vested in Court under section 154 of the Evidence Act to declare a witness hostile.

12. If a situation as to declaring a witness hostile arises before a Commission recording evidence, the concerned party shall have to obtain permission from the Court under section 154 of the Evidence Act and it is only after grant of such permission that the Commissioner can allow a party to cross-examine his own witness. Having regard to the facts of the case, the Court may either grant such permission or even consider to withdraw the commission so as to itself record remaining evidence or impose heavy costs if it finds that permission was sought to delay the progress of the suit or harass the opposite party.


Writ Petition (Civil) Nos. 496 and 570 of 2002

Decided On: 02.08.2005

Salem Advocate Bar Association, Tamil Nadu
Union of India (UOI)
Hon'ble Judges/Coram:

Y.K. Sabharwal, D.M. Dharmadhikari and Tarun Chatterjee, JJ.
Citation: AIR 2005 SC 3353.

Read full judgment here: Click here

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