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Report No. 69

III. Recommendation

87.24. Amendments summed up.-

The result of the above discussion is that in regard to section 155, the following amendments are desirable.-

(i) Clause (1) should be restricted to such matters as affect the credibility, accuracy or veracity of the witness1.

(ii) Clause (3) should be made subject to section 145, in regard to the procedure2 for contradiction and the meaning of the expression "liable to be contradicted" should also be clarified3 in that clause.

(iii) As regards the accused, a separate provision is recommended.4

(iv) Clause (4) to be put as a branch.

In the light of the above discussion, we recommend that section 155 should be revised as under:-

"155. (1) The credit of a witness may be impeached in the following ways by the adverse party, or, with the permission of the Court, by the party who calls him:

(a) by the evidence of persons who, from their knowledge of the witness, impeach his credibility, accuracy or veracity;

(b) by proof that the witness has been bribed, or has accepted the offer of a bribe, or has received any other corrupt inducement, to give his evidence;

(c) subject to the provisions of section 145, by proof of former statements inconsistent with any part of his evidence which is liable to be contradicted, that is to say, evidence on a fact in issue or a relevant fact or evidence relating to any matter referred to in the First or Second exception to section 153;

(d) where a man is prosecuted for the offence of rape or attempt to commit rape, and the witness is the prosecutrix, by evidence showing that the prosecutrix was of generally immoral character.

Explanation.-A witness declaring another witness to be unworthy of credit may not, upon his examination-in-chief, give reasons for his belief, but he may be asked his reasons in cross-examination, and the answers which he gives cannot be contradicted, though, if they are false, he may afterwards be charged with giving false evidence.

(2) When an accused person offers himself as a witness in pursuance of section 315 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, another, witness shall not be asked any question tending to show that the accused has committed or been convicted or been charged with any offence other than that with which he is then charged, or that he is of bad character, unless-

(1) the proof that he has committed or been convicted of such other offence is relevant to a matter in issue; or

(ii) he has personally or by his legal practitioner asked questions of the witness for the prosecution with a view to establishing his own good character, or has given evidence of his good character; or

(iii) the nature or conduct of the defence is such as to involve imputations on the character of the prosecutor or the witnesses for the prosecution, provided the leave of the court is obtained for asking the particular question; or

(iv) he has given evidence against any other person charged with the same offence.

1. Para. 87.11, supra.

2. Para. 87.17,supra.

3. Para. 87.14, supra.

4. Para. 87.24, supra.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872 Back

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