P&H HC: IO Can’t be Cross-Examined Regarding Contents of Exhibited Documents During Trial

punjab and haryana high court Law Insider

Debangana Ray

Published on July 11, 2022 at 16:46 IST

The Punjab and Haryana High Court refused to grant permission to cross examine an investigating officer who had collected documents against the petitioner in a corruption case citing Section 139 of the Indian Evidence Act.

The Court contended that Section 139 of the IEA, the witness (officer) cannot be cross examined with regards to the contents of exhibited documents during trial as the same will be looked into by the court during final adjudication.

The single bench comprising of Justice Arvind Singh Sangwan further referred the Supreme Court’s judgement in “To issue Certain Guidelines regarding inadequacies and deficiencies in criminal trials v. The State of Andhra Pradesh and others, that provided guidelines for criminal trials is directive in nature. The discretion is left to wisdom of the Presiding Officers to allow the deposition in question and answer format whenever necessary.”

The Petitioner herein was booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act. He had moved the High Court challenging an order of the trial court dismissing his application seeking permission to cross-examine the IO.

The CBI counsel opposed the petition, as the contents are to be seen and appreciated by the trial Court at the time of final arguments.

Finding merit in this submission, the court refused the witness’s cross examination by way of question answer format.

Since this witness has not prepared these documents and has only collected the same, he cannot be attributed any personal knowledge, for which his cross-examination by way of question and answer format is allowed.

Accordingly, the court concluded that the trial court has passed a well-reasoned order. Finding no ground in interference with Trial Court’s order, court dismissed the instant petition.

Related Post