Section 144 in Indian Evidence Act 1872
Title: Evidence as to matters in writing
Any witness may be asked, whilst under examination, whether any contract, grant or other disposition of property, as to which he is giving evidence, was not contained in a document, and if he says that it was, or if he is about to make any statement as to the contents of any document, which, in the opinion of the Court, ought to be produced, the adverse party may object to such evidence being given until such document is produced, or until facts have been proved which entitle the party who called the witness to give secondary evidence of it.
Explanation. -- A witness may give oral evidence of statements made by other persons about the contents of documents if such statements are in themselves relevant facts.
The question is, whether A assaulted B.
C deposes that he heard A say to D-- "B wrote a letter accusing me of theft, and I will be revenged on him." This statement is relevant, as showing A's motive for the assault, and evidence may be given of it, though no other evidence is given about the letter.
Title: Cross examination as to previous statements in writing
1145. Cross-examination as to previous statements in writing-- A witness may be crossexamined as to previous statements made by him in writing or reduced into writing, and relevant to matters in question, without such writing being shown to him, or being proved; but, if it is intended to contradict him by the writing, his attention must, before the writing can be proved, be called to those parts of it which are to be used for the purpose of contradicting him.
1. As to the Application of s. 145 to police-diaries, see the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (2 of 1974), s. 172.
Title: Questions lawful in cross examination
When a witness is cross-examined, he may, in addition to the questions hereinbefore referred to, be asked any questions which tend --
(1) to test his veracity,
(2) to discover who he is and what is his position in life, or
(3) to shake his credit, by injuring his character, although the answer to such questions might tend directly or indirectly to criminate him or might expose or tend directly or indirectly to expose him to a penalty or forfeiture:
1[Provided that in a prosecution for an offence under section 376, 2[section 376A, section 376AB, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D, section 376DA, section 376DB] or section 376E of the Indian Penal Code (45 of 1860) or for attempt to commit any such offence, where the question of consent is an issue, it shall not be permissible to adduce evidence or to put questions in the cross-examination of the victim as to the general immoral character, or previous sexual experience, of such victim with any person for proving such consent or the quality of consent.]
1. Subs. by Act 13 of 2013, s. 28, for the proviso (w.e.f. 3-2-2013).
2. Subs. by Act 22 of 2018, s. 9, for section 376A, section 376B, section 376C, section 376D (w.e.f. 21-4-2018).
Title: When witness to be compelled to answer
If any such question relates to a matter relevant to the suit or proceeding, the provisions of section 132 shall apply thereto.
Title: Court to decide when question shall be asked and when witness compelled to answer
If any such question relates to a matter not relevant to the suit or proceeding, except in so far as it affects the credit of the witness by injuring his character, the Court shall decide whether or not the witness shall be compelled to answer it, and may, if it thinks fit, warn the witness that he is not obliged to answer it. In exercising its discretion, the Court shall have regard to the following considerations: --
(1) such questions are proper if they are of such a nature that the truth of the imputation conveyed by them would seriously affect the opinion of the Court as to the credibility of the witness on the matter to which he testifies;
(2) such questions are improper if the imputation which they convey relates to matters so remote in time, or of such a character, that the truth of the imputation would not affect, or would affect in a slight degree, the opinion of the Court as to the credibility of the witness on the matter to which he testifies;
(3) such questions are improper if there is a great disproportion between the importance of the imputation made against the witnesss character and the importance of his evidence;
(4) the Court may, if it sees fit, draw, from the witnesss refusal to answer, the inference that the answer if given would be unfavourable.