Mansimran Kaur

New Delhi, August 4, 2022: While observing  that cross-examination cannot be such that it has no bearing to the case before the Trial Court nor can it be a vexatious or a roving inquiry, the Delhi High Court has dismissed the petition which was preferred by the complainant under Section 482 of Cr.P.C in a cheque dishonor case.

The Single Judge Bench of Justice Asha Menon was of the considered view that merely because certain questions were asked during the cross-examination of the complainant/petitioner, it cannot be a reason enough to consider the same, as relevance is not a question of parity.

The petitioner in the instant case instituted the complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881 against the respondent. The grievance was that as per the order dated July 7, 2022, during the course of examination of the second defence-witness, the Trial Court disallowed two questions, as being irrelevant to the matter in issue. It was the case of the petitioner that the Trial Court erred in disallowing the two questions. 

After hearing the rival contentions of the parties, the Court stated that it was not precluded in looking into the matter to decide whether there was any error or perversity in the order under challenge and the nomenclature of the petition would not predicate the exercise of the powers. Reliance was placed at the case of Foods Limited vs Special Judicial Magistrate.

Any litigant who comes to the court with a grievance and every litigant who defends a case against him have necessarily to produce evidence in support of their case. The law of evidence governs the recording of evidence so that the inquiry is not rendered a meandering exercise, but is focused towards a fair decision of the lis, the Court stated. 

Further, provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 were taken into account. In view of the same, the Court observed that both examination and cross-examination must relate to relevant facts. The reason why cross-examination is not confined to the facts to which the witnesses testified is obvious. The witness who is examined-in-chief is from the side of the party who has called him. Therefore, his testimony would be, in-chief relating to the case of that party. But since the opposite side is also required to prove their case, the right has been given to such an adverse party to put questions that would be beyond the examination-in-chief. 

Nevertheless, cross-examination cannot be such that it has no bearing to the case before the  Trial Court nor can it be a vexatious or a roving inquiry. The cross-examination cannot encompass questions that are scandalous or intended to cause humiliation to the witness, on the plea that the questions can go beyond the examination-in-chief. While there is a right to ask questions of a witness to impeach his credibility, it cannot descend to harassment and humiliation of the witness, the Court noted. 

Referring to the questions in dispute, the Bench said, “What however are the two questions disallowed by the learned Trial Court, namely, Q. Have you or your mother or your wife taken a friendly loan from any other person? And Q. Is it correct that in another case titled as “Parminder Singh Bindra Vs. Jayti Khurana”, your wife is an accused and the same case is pending before the undersigned court?”

Coming to the issue at hand in the instant case, the Court noted that the petitioner ought to have established how the questions were relevant.In light of the observations stated above, this Court opined that there was no perversity in the order of the Metropolitan Magistrate disallowing these two questions. Neither it resulted in any miscarriage of justice. Thus, the petition was accordingly dismissed. 

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