Section 155 Impeaching credit of 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;
(2) by proof that the witness has been bribed, or has [accepted] the offer of bride, or has received any other corrupt inducement to give his evidence;
(3) by proof of former statements inconsistent with any part of his evidence which is liable to be contradicted;
(4) when a man is prosecuted for rape or an attempt to ravish, it may be shown that the prosecutrix was of generally immoral character.
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.
(a) A sues B for the price of goods sold and delivered to B. C says that he delivered the goods to B.
Evidence is offered to show that, on a previous occasion, he said that he had not delivered goods to B.
The evidence is admissible.
(b) A is indicted for the murder of B.
C says that B, when dying, declared that A had given B the wound of which he died.
Evidence is offered to show that, on a previous occasion, C said that the wound was not given by A or in his presence.
The evidence is admissible.
Scope- Section 155 prescribes manner of impeacing the credit of a witness. Section 138, 140, 145 and 154 provide for impeaching the credit of a witness by cross-examination. Section 146 permits questions injuring the character of a witness to be put to him in cross-examination. Section 155 lays down different method of discrediting a witness by allowing independent evidence to be led. This section lays down four different ways in which the credit of a witness may be impeached.
Clause 1- Independent evidence may be given that a witness examined by the opponent bears such a general reputation for untruthfulness that he is unworthy of credit. The witness must be able to state what is generally said of the person by those among whom he lives.
Clause 2- Independent evidence may be given to prove that the witness has been bribed or has accepted the offer of a bribe. But it should be remembered that where the witness in question has been merely offered a bribe, no inference of any sort as to the testimony of the witness can be drawn. But demand of bribe by the witness should be proved.
Clause 3- Under clause (3) the credit of a witness may be impeached by proof of his former statement with any part of his statement before the court.
Clause 4- In trial for rape or attempt to commit that crime the evidence that she is a reputed prostitute can be given for it goes long way in raising an inference that she yielded willingly.