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Section 151 BSA to Section 156 BSA|Section 152 BSA| Section 153 BSA|Section 154 BSA| Section 155 BSA

Updated: Feb 8

Section 151 BSA| Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023


Court to decide when question shall be asked and when witness compelled to answer.


(1) 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.


(2) In exercising its discretion, the Court shall have regard to the following considerations, namely:—

(a) 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;


(b) 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;


(c) such questions are improper if there is a great disproportion between the importance of the imputation made against the witness's character and the importance of his evidence;


(d) the Court may, if it sees fit, draw, from the witness's refusal to answer, the inference that the answer if given would be unfavourable.


Section 152 BSA | Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023


Question not to be asked without reasonable grounds.


No such question as is referred to in section 151 ought to be asked, unless the person asking it has reasonable grounds for thinking that the imputation which it conveys is well-founded.


Illustrations.


(a) An advocate is instructed by another advocate that an important witness is a

dacoit. This is a reasonable ground for asking the witness whether he is a dacoit.


(b) An advocate is informed by a person in Court that an important witness is a dacoit. The informant, on being questioned by the advocate, gives satisfactory reasons for his statement. This is a reasonable ground for asking the witness whether he is a dacoit.


(c) A witness, of whom nothing whatever is known, is asked at random whether he is a dacoit. There are here no reasonable grounds 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 dacoit.



Section 153 BSA | Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023


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 advocate, report the circumstances of the case to the High Court or other authority to which such advocate is subject in the exercise of his profession.


Section 154 BSA | Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023


Indecent and scandalous questions.


The Court may forbid any questions or inquiries which it regards as indecent or scandalous, although such questions or inquiries may have some bearing on the questions before the Court, unless they relate to facts in issue, or to matters necessary to be known in order to determine whether or not the facts in issue existed.


Section 155 BSA | Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023


Questions intended to insult or annoy.


The Court shall forbid any question which appears to it to be intended to insult or annoy, or which, though proper in itself, appears to the Court needlessly offensive in form.


Section 156 BSA | Bharatiya Sakshya Adhiniyam, 2023


Exclusion of evidence to contradict answers to questions testing veracity.


When a witness has been asked and has answered any question which is relevant to the inquiry only in so far as it tends to shake his credit by injuring his character, no evidence shall be given to contradict him; but, if he answers falsely, he may afterwards be charged with giving false evidence.


Exception 1.—If a witness is asked whether he has been previously convicted of any crime and denies it, evidence may be given of his previous conviction.


Exception 2.—If a witness is asked any question tending to impeach his impartiality, and answers it by denying the facts suggested, he may be contradicted.


Illustrations.


(a) A claim against an underwriter is resisted on the ground of fraud. The claimant is asked whether, in a former transaction, he had not made a fraudulent claim. He denies it. Evidence is offered to show that he did make such a claim. The evidence is inadmissible.


(b) A witness is asked whether he was not dismissed from a situation for dishonesty. He denies it. Evidence is offered to show that he was dismissed for dishonesty. The evidence is not admissible.


(c) A affirms that on a certain day he saw B at Goa. A is asked whether he himself was not on that day at Varanasi. He denies it. Evidence is offered to show that A was on that day at Varanasi. The evidence is admissible, not as contradicting A on a fact which affects his credit, but as contradicting the alleged fact that B was seen on the day in question in Goa. In each of these cases, the witness might, if his denial was false, be charged with giving false evidence.


(d) A is asked whether his family has not had a blood feud with the family of B against whom he gives evidence. He denies it. He may be contradicted on the ground that the question tends to impeach his impartiality.

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