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Updated: Jul 1, 2021


Examination in Chief and Cross examination:

1.The Evidence Act defines evidence to include oral and documentary evidence to prove or Disprove any matter of fact. In respect of oral testimony of witnesses, the rule is that the adverse party shall have the right of cross-examination. According to sun. 137, the examination of a witness by the party who calls him is called the Examination-in-chief. The examination .of a witness by the adverse party is called the 'cross examination'. It is called re-examination when, after the cross-examination, the witness is examined by the party who called him. The order of examination is: Examination in chief. Cross examination, if the adverse party so desires. Re-examination, if it is so desired by the party calling him.

1. Examination in Chief:-

The examination is a viva voce. It is in the form of questions and answers. The deposition of the witnesses is recorded in narrative form, It is read out to the witness and Signed by the Judge or Magistrate. In Examination in Chief, no leading questions .should be put. It is the duty of the advocate to bring out clearly every relevant fact in a chronological order. However, the statements made in examination-in-chief will not carry any value unless they are subject to the crucial acid test of cross-examination.

2. Cross-Examination”: Cross examination is a very powerful weapon in the hands of an experienced advocate, and it is double-edged weapon. Its object is to bring out the truth and expose falsehood. In cross examination, questions may be asked

i) To test his veracity

ii) It discover his status etc.

iii) To shake his credit by injuring his character (criminating also). However, all questions, which are indecent and scandalous (unless they refer to a fact in issue) are to be avoided. The range of cross examination is almost unlimited, but subject only to relevancy.

iv) Leading questions can be asked.

If a witness turns hostile, then the party who called him may cross examine him. Cross examination is a branch of forensic practice and to get mastery, one should have tact, deep understanding of human nature, logical outlook and analysis and of course great practice. The trend of cross examination depends generally on the narration even in examination in chief. The major purposes of such an examination is to bring out the falsehood of the story narrated by the witness, and. also, to build a line of Defence by getting some facts from the witness himself.

3. Re-examination:

Its objective is to provide an opportunity, to the party who called the witness, to fill in any lacuna or to Explain any in consistencies discovered during cross examination. However, if any new matter is Introduced, then the adverse party will have a right to cross-examine the witness.


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