Decided on July 05,1963



Jaganmohan Reddy, J. - (1.) This second appeal raises an interesting question of law, viz., whether the statements recorded in a criminal investigation under Section 163 Criminal Procedure Code could be used in a civil proceeding for purposes of cross-examination under Section 145 of the Evidence Act. Both the lower Courts had disallowed the proof of these statements and also did not permit the appellants to use them for purposes of discrediting the witnesses by allowing them to use them in cross-examination under Section 145 of the Evidence Act.
(2.) Respondent had filed a suit for recovery of Rs. 3,000.00 as damages for cutting away her plantain garden and for Rs. 1000.00 towards the value of the she-buffalo and calf belonging to the respondent which the respondent alleged that the appellants had taken away. The first appellant is the son of the 2nd appellant and the 4th and 5th respondents are the sons of the 3rd appellant and they are all related to appellants 1 and 2. It was averred by the respondent that she owns a land known as Chatla-Manyam in Government Medapadu, that she raised a plantain garden in one acre in 1956, that one night a week prior to the Deepavali of 1956, all the appellants in a body assisted by some others entered the plantain garden and cut away the trees and when the respondents husband and servants attempted to obstruct them, the appellants threatened them with violence. She put the value of the garden at Rs. 3000.00. It was also staged that the appellants had committed theft of a she-buffalo and a calf belonging to the respondent worth Rs. 1000.00. Immediately after the alleged cutting away and the theft, the respondent filed a complaint before the police. During the course of the investigation. Section 162 statements were recorded. The appellants denied the allegations. The lower Court granted a decree against the appellants for Rs. 2500.00 towards damages for the plantain garden and Rs. 500.00 being the cost of the she-buffalo and calf with proportionate costs and dismissed the rest of the suit claim without costs. As against this, appellants 1 to 5 alone filed an appeal and the respondent filed a memo of cross-objections in respect of the portions disallowed by the lower Court. The first appellate Court also dismissed the appeal and the memo of cross-objections confirming the decree of the lower Court.
(3.) Now it is contended in this second appeal that both the Courts below were wrong in not allowing the appellants to use the Section 162 statements for purposes of cross-examining the plaintiffs witnesses and also in rejecting the application for calling the Inspector who recorded the statements to prove them. Learned advocate for the respondent, on the other hand, contends inter alia that these statements cannot be used for purposes other than in a criminal trial or enquiry and certainly not in a civil suit and secondly, that the appellants did not put any questions to the witnesses regarding the previous depositions, but only as an afterthought after the trial had closed the appellants put in an application to call the Inspector to prove the statements made by the prosecution witnesses, P. Ws. 2, 6 and 7, which petition was rightly rejected by the lower Court as being belated.;

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