News By/Courtesy: Varsha Subramaniam | 15 Nov 2020 6:57am IST

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The art of cross-examination is the most effective weapon for the discovery of truth.
  • It is unfortunate that trials in this country don’t take place in the manner that they are required to be conducted.
  • You can become an expert by watching great masters, and by picking up the principles of cross-examination.

What is Cross-examination?

The art of cross-examination is the most effective weapon for the discovery of truth, provided the objective is not to confound a truthful witness but to extract the truth from an unwilling witness. For example, the successful cross-examination of false witnesses is legion – thousands.

If somebody wants to really read what interesting cross-examination can be, you should read the cross-examination of Mr. Oscar Wilde in his defamation case, which was filed against [Lord Alfred] Douglas’ father.

In cross-examination, they brought out so much mud against him that the government of Britain had no option but to prosecute him for sodomy. And you know how ultimately poor Oscar Wilde ended up in his life.

Therefore if today perjury is rampant, particularly in our Indian courts (I don’t speak about English courts - my own view is that there’s much less perjury in England and America than there is in India), therefore the art of cross-examination is a greater necessity as a part of the lawyer’s equipment.

It is unfortunate that trials in this country don’t take place in the manner that they are required to be conducted.

First of all adjournments, without a very pressing cause, are prohibited by both the civil procedure code as well as the criminal procedure.

There one witness, half a witness is examined today, then the same witness comes after three months when examination in chief is over and forgotten, then the lawyer is supposed to cross-examine. It serves no purpose at all.

If you put so much interval between examination and cross-examination, the fellow goes and gets his best advice and gets ready for cross-examination.

It happens almost invariably now, that’s the state.

How to be good at cross-examination?

Cross-examination is learned by a long experience, by long introspection.

According to him as he teaches cross-examination to his students sometimes, you have almost to become like a hermit, sitting in absolute loneliness, find out your first question which you will ask, write down then the possible answer. You should be prepared because you’ll be taken by surprise what are the possible answers he gives you.

Then what will you do next? You should be ready immediately to carry out your cross-examination along the lines that you had thought of that possible answer.

You can become an expert by watching great masters, and by picking up the principles of cross-examination. The high watermark of the technique, perhaps from your professor who himself has some experience – [but] the kind of professors that there are in our law schools they hardly know anything about it.

Then your own intelligence, your own industry, your own imagination.

 

This Article Does Not Intend To Hurt The Sentiments Of Any Individual Community, Sect, Or Religion Etcetera. This Article Is Based Purely On The Authors Personal Views And Opinions In The Exercise Of The Fundamental Right Guaranteed Under Article 19(1)(A) And Other Related Laws Being Force In India, For The Time Being. 

 

Section Editor: Pushpit Singh | 15 Nov 2020 18:28pm IST


Tags : Indian Courts

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