Hostile Witness


A hostile witness is said to be when the party calls the witness for their favor but the deposition of the statement goes against the party. This is one of the common problems when the witness becomes hostile and the calling party loses the case because of that witness. And then the court declared that witness a hostile witness.

The hostile witness is also a witness for the case of the witness but due to some situation, the witness starts his points is not the favour of the advocate then that witness becomes a hostile witness. In the Entire act of evidence, the term hostile witness is not defined anywhere. If the evidence given by him/her is unfavourable to the advocate he can destroy the evidence after seeking the order of the court.


When the advocate calls the witness for the examination then the adverse party can ask the question and that proceeding becomes cross-examination.


In a normal proceeding, sometimes the witness may or may not answer all questions. During examination–in–chief the question of the fact of the case is discussed and then the other party advocate asks the counter-question which is termed cross-examination. And if the witness does not answer the favour of the calling party then that witness becomes the hostile witness. Then the main question that arises before the court whether the statement which is given by the witness should be admissible or not.


Section 153. of the evidence act:

 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.

Section 154 of the evidence act:

Section 154: (a) Question by the party to his own witness: the court may, in its discretion, permit the question who calls a witness to put any question to him which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party.

(b) nothing in this section shall disentitle the person so permitted under sub-section (1), to rely on any part of the evidence of such witness.

Explanation of section 154 of the evidence act: this section says that, if the witness becomes hostile the advocate after seeking permission from the court he can cross-examine the witness.

Section 155. of the evidence act:

 Impeaching credit of the witness. –– The credit of a witness may be impeached in the following ways by the adverse party, or, with the consent of the Court, by the party who calls him: –– (1) by the evidence of persons who testify that they, from their knowledge of the witness, believe him to be unworthy of credit; o to give his evidence; (3) by proof of former statements inconsistent with any part of his evidence which is liable to be contradicted;

Explanation. –– A witness declaring another witness to be unworthy of credit may not, upon his examination-in-chief, give reasons for his belief, but he may be asked his reasons in cross-examination, and the answers which he gives cannot be contradicted, though, if they are false, he may afterwards be charged with giving false evidence.

Section 156. of the evidence act:

Questions tending to corroborate evidence of relevant fact, are admissible. –– When a witness whom it is intended to corroborate gives evidence of any relevant fact, he may be questioned as to any other circumstances which he observed at or near to the time or place at which such relevant fact occurred if the Court is of the opinion that such circumstances if proved, would corroborate the testimony of the witness as to the relevant fact which he testifies.

Check the relevancy of the witness.


If the witness becomes hostile then the advocate explains that the witness becomes hostile and not consider the evidence given by him/ her.


The appropriate witness is one of the essential elements in the court proceeding and if the witness becomes hostile when he starts changing the fact and that effect the disadvantage of the aggrieved party.

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(MARCH – APRIL 2022)



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