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Whether previous statement recorded on tape can be used to contradict the witness ?

A tape recorded conversation between the witness and the petitioners was sought to be given in evidence by playing the tape-record to impeach the credit of the witness. On the question of the admissibility of the evidence, the Supreme Court of India in Rama Reddy Vs. V.V. Giri, AIR 1971 SC 1162 : 1971 (1) SCR 399 : (1970) 2  SCC 340  held that a previous statement made by a person and recorded on tape, can be used not only to corroborate the evidence given by the witness in court but also to contradict his evidence given before the Court, as well as to test the veracity of the witness and also to impeach his impartiality.

How to Contradict the Witness by using Tape Recorded Statement

Whether Tape recorded statement of witness admissible to contradict his Evidence in Court.

A full bench comprising of Vaidyialingam, C.A. Sikri, S.M., Shelat, J.M., Bhargava, Vishishtha, Mitter, G.K.,  JJ. authored by C.A. Vaidyialingam observed that apart from being used for corroboration, the evidence is admissible in respect of the other three matters under ss. 146(1), 153, Exception (2) and s. 155(3) of the Evidence Act.

If a previous statement made by a person can be used to corroborate his evidence given before court, on principle, there is no reason why such previous statement cannot ‘be used to contradict under s. 153, Exception 2 and also for the other purposes under ss. 146(1) and, 155(3).

the judgment said.

Case Law Reference

  1. S. Pratap Singh v. State of Punjab, [1964] 4 S.C.R. 733
  2. Yusuffalli v, Maharashtra State, [1967] 3 S.C.R. 720
  3. R. v. Maqsud Ali [1965] 2 All. E. R. 464
  4. Rup Chand v. Mahabir Parshad, A.I.R.,1956 Punj. 173
  5. Manindra Nath v. Biswanath, 67 C.W.N. 191 {approved}

The expression ‘which is liable to be contradicted’ in s. 155(3) does not mean ‘which is relevant to the issue’. The observation contra in Khadijah Khanum v. Abdool Kurreem Sheraji, 1890 I.L.R. 17 Cal. 344 is too broadly stated. But even if it mean ‘relevant to the issue’ the taperecorded statement in the present case, is relevant to the issue before this Court, namely, ‘whether the respondent, or any person with his connivance, printed, published and distributed the pamphlets.”

Facts of the Case

The petitioners filed an election petition under the Presidential and Vice Presidential Election Act, 1952 and according to them undue influence was exercised by the publication and, distribution of certain pamphlets containing scurrilous attacks on the defeated presidential candidate. The name of persons who were alleged to have distributed the pamphlets were mentioned in the particulars supplied in the election petition.

When one of them was in the witness-box as a witness for the returned candidate, he denied in his chief-examination that he distributed the pamphlets. When it was suggested to him in cross- examination that he attempted to dissuade one of the petitioners from filing the election petition as otherwise serious consequences would follow, the witness denied the suggestion.

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