YESHPAL JASHBHAI PARIKH Vs. RASIKLAL UMEDCHAND PARIKH
LAWS(BOM)-1954-12-9
HIGH COURT OF BOMBAY
Decided on December 17,1954

YESHPAL JASHBHAI PARIKH Appellant
VERSUS
RASIKLAL UMEDCHAND PARIKH Respondents


Referred Judgements :-

MECHANICAL AND GENERAL INVENTIONS CO. AND LEHWESS V. AUSTIN MOTOR CO. [REFERRED TO]
EMPEROR V. RAHIMATALLI [REFERRED TO]
VASSILIADES V. VASSILIADES [REFERRED TO]
RAJ KUMAR SEN V. RAM SUNDAR SHAHA [REFERRED TO]



Cited Judgements :-

RAJESH V. CHOUDHARY VS. KSHITIJ RAJIV TORKA AND ORS. [LAWS(BOM)-2015-9-72] [REFERRED TO]
KARMAPA CHARITABLE TRUST VS. STATE OF SIKKIM [LAWS(SIK)-2020-6-5] [REFERRED TO]


JUDGEMENT

- (1.)The opponent, who is the Home Minister of Saurashtra, has filed against the applicant, an author and publisher, a complaint for an offence of defamation under Section 500, Penal Code. The learned Chief Presidency Magistrate is trying that case and in the course of trial the opponent has been examined-in-chief. The cross-examination of the opponent was commenced on 23-11-1954, when the applicant himself cross-examined the opponent for four hours. The cross- examination was continued on 24-11-1954, and Mr. 1. C. Dalai appearing for the accused-applicant cross-examined the opponent for two hours and forty minutes on that day. The cross-examination was then continued on the next day i.e., on 25-11-1954, and the cross-examination lasted for two hours. The cross- examination was again continued on 26th November, and it went on for four and a half hours. It appears that, in all, the cross-examination has lasted so far for 13 hours. At the end of the day's hearing on 26-11-1954, the learned Magistrate asked Mr. Dalai as regards his estimate of time in concluding the cross-examination of the opponent and Mr. Dalai then stated, as appears from the order, that he would take three weeks more, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The learned Magistrate, therefore, made an order, telling Mr. Dalai that the cross-examination of the witness would not be allowed to be carried on after 5 p.m. on 30-11-1954.
(2.)The applicant has taken exception to this order and his contention is that the learned Chief Presidency Magistrate was not entitled to impose a time-limit as regards the cross-examination of the opponent and that there was nothing either in the Evidence Act or in the Code of Criminal Procedure to do so. Now, Mr. Dalai appearing for the applicant contends that the learned Magistrate was wrong in directing that the cross-examination of the opponent should be completed on 3011- 1954, by 5 p.m. As a general rule, it may be conceded that the Court would not be justified in imposing a time-limit upon the cross-examination of a witness. But" if the Suggestion is that the Court has no discretion in the matter or that the Court has no control over the cross-examination, I am not prepared to assent to that suggestion. The object of cross-examination is to test the story of a witness given by him in the examination-in-chief and there are several sections in the Indian Evidence Act which allow an advocate to cross-examine the witness, with respect to matters other than those brought out in the examination-in-chief. But Mr. Dalai contends that even so, considerable latitude should be given to an advocate appearing for a party and that in such a case the Court has no discretion in the matter. I am prepared to agree that it would be futile to impose a time limit as regards the cross-examination of a witness, but the Court may, in the course of trial, come to the conclusion that the cross-examination has been unnecessary or irrelevant or even rambling and in such a case the Court has undoubtedly power to control the cross-examination of a witness by counsel of the opposite party. In thus particular case, the cross-examination of the opponent went on admittedly for a period of 13 hours. The case is one of defamation. The applicant himself cross-examined the opponent for four hours on 23-11-1954. Mr. Dalai appearing for the applicant has himself cross-examined the opponent for at least nine hours, so that it cannot be suggested that indulgence has not been shown or latitude has not been given to the applicant or his advocate for the effective cross-examination of the opponent. The cross-examination has been, in part, rambling and according to the learned Magistrate again, Mr. Dalai appearing for the applicant has not even touched the fringe of the charges. If I may say so, with respect, that only shows that the cross-examination has been, at least in part, a rambling cross- examination. If an advocate is not in a position to effectively cross-examine a witness for 13 hours, I doubt if he would at all be able to cross-examine the witness after a period of 13 hours. I quite agree that the length of the cross-examination may depend upon the "matters in issue. The case may be a simple one. In such a case the cross-examination may not be long. But there may be cases in which there would be vast materials and in such a case it may well be that the cross- examination may take a long time to be completed.
(3.)However that may be, the principle is, I think, indisputable that the Court has, and should have, a discretion in controlling the cross-examination, and while the Court will allow reasonable latitude to an advocate or counsel to cross-examine a party or a witness, it should always be remembered that the Court has an undoubted control and 3 discretion in the matter of controlling the cross- examination of a party by counsel of the opposite party.


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