Tuesday 25 June 2024

What is basic concept of leading questions as per S 146 of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam? Explain this concept with examples

 The concept of leading questions is addressed in S 146 of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam. Here’s a detailed explanation of the concept, along with examples:

Definition and Legal Basis

Leading Question:

  • A leading question is one that suggests the answer desired by the questioner, typically by putting words into the mouth of the witness.
  • Section 146(1) of BSA defines leading questions as: "Any question suggesting the answer which the person putting it wishes or expects to receive is called a leading question."
  • Leading questions are generally not allowed during the examination-in-chief (the initial questioning of a witness by the party who called the witness) or re-examination unless they relate to matters which are introductory or undisputed, or which have already been sufficiently proved.
  • Leading questions are allowed during cross-examination (questioning of a witness by the opposing party).

Key Points

  1. Examination-in-Chief and Re-Examination:

    • Leading questions are usually prohibited during examination-in-chief to ensure that the witness provides their testimony without being influenced by the questioner.
    • Exceptions include:
      • Introductory matters: Questions that introduce the witness or the case.
      • Matters not in dispute: Questions on facts that both parties agree upon.
      • Matters already proven: Questions on facts already established by evidence.
  2. Cross-Examination:

    • Leading questions are permitted during cross-examination. This is because the purpose of cross-examination is to challenge the credibility and reliability of the witness's testimony, and leading questions can be a tool to test the witness's consistency and truthfulness.


Example 1: Examination-in-Chief

  • Non-leading Question: "Where were you on the night of 5th June?"
    • The question does not suggest an answer and allows the witness to provide their response.
  • Leading Question: "You were at John's house on the night of 5th June, weren't you?"
    • The question suggests the answer that the questioner wants to receive and is typically not allowed during examination-in-chief.

Example 2: Cross-Examination

  • Allowed Leading Question: "Isn't it true that you were at John's house on the night of 5th June?"
    • This leading question is allowed during cross-examination to challenge the witness’s previous statements or test their credibility.

Example 3: Introductory Matter

  • Leading Question Allowed: "You are the manager of XYZ Company, correct?"
    • This question introduces the witness and establishes their identity and role, which is permissible during examination-in-chief.

Example 4: Undisputed Matter

  • Leading Question Allowed: "It was raining heavily on the night of the accident, wasn't it?"
    • If both parties agree that it was raining heavily, this leading question may be allowed to establish an undisputed fact.


The basic concept of leading questions under  S 146 of Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, is to regulate the manner in which questions are posed to witnesses to ensure fair and unbiased testimony. Leading questions are generally prohibited during examination-in-chief and re-examination, except for introductory matters, undisputed facts, or matters already proven. However, they are allowed during cross-examination to test the witness's credibility. This ensures that the evidence presented in court is reliable and the process of justice is upheld.

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