Section 146 in Indian Evidence Act 1872
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.
Title: Question not to be asked without reasonable grounds
No such question as is referred to in section 148 ought to be asked, unless the person asking it has reasonable grounds for thinking that the imputation which it conveys is well-founded.
(a) A barrister is instructed by an attorney or vakil that an important witness is a dakait. This is a reasonable ground for asking the witness whether he is a dakait.
(b) A pleader is informed by a person in Court that an important witness is a dakait. The informant, on being questioned by the pleader, gives satisfactory reasons for his statement. This is a reasonable ground for asking the witness whether he is a dakait.
(c) A witness, of whom nothing whatever is known is asked at random whether he is a dakait. There are here no reasonable ground for the question.
(d) A witness, of whom nothing whatever is known, being questioned as to his mode of life and means of living, gives unsatisfactory answers. This may be a reasonable ground for asking him if he is a dakait.
Title: Procedure of Court in case of question being asked without reasonable grounds
If the Court is of opinion that any such question was asked without reasonable grounds, it may, if it was asked by any barrister, pleader, vakil or attorney, report the circumstances of the case to the High Court or other authority to which such barrister, pleader, vakil or attorney is subject in the exercise of his profession.