In the present matter Hon’ble Supreme Court has explained Order 8 Rule 5 and value of asking right questions in cross-examination
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CIVIL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4816 OF 2016
[Arising out of SLP (Civil) No. 13076 of 2007]
Muddasani Venkata Narsaiah (D) Th. Lrs. .. Appellants
Muddasani Sarojana .. Respondent
15. It is settled law that denial for want of knowledge is no denial at all. The execution of the sale deed was not specifically denied in the written statement. Once the execution of the sale deed was not disputed it was not necessary to examine Buchamma to prove it. The provisions contained in Order 8 Rule 5 require pleadings to be answered specifically in written statement. This Court in Jahuri Sah & Ors. v. Dwarika Prasad Jhunjhunwala AIR 1967 SC 109 has laid down that if a defendant has no knowledge of a fact pleaded by the plaintiff is not tantamount to a denial of existence of fact, not even an implied denial. Same decision has been followed by Madhya Pradesh High Court in Dhanbai D/o Late Shri Cowash v. State of M.P. & Ors. 1978 MPLJ 717. The High Court of Madhya Pradesh in Samrathmal & Anr. v. Union of India, Ministry of Railway & Ors. AIR 1959 MP 305 relying on P.L.N.K.L. Chettyar Firm v. Ko Lu Doke AIR 1934 Rang 278 and Lakhmi Chand v. Ram Lal AIR 1931 All. 423, had also opined that if the defendant did not know of a fact, denial of the knowledge of a particular fact is not a denial of the fact and has not even the effect of putting the fact in issue.
16. Moreover, there was no effective cross-examination made on the plaintiff’s witnesses with respect to factum of execution of sale deed, PW.1 and PW-2 have not been cross examined as to factum of execution of sale deed. The cross-examination is a matter of substance not of procedure one is required to put one’s own version in cross-examination of opponent. The effect of non cross-examination is that the statement of witness has not been disputed. The effect of not cross-examining the witnesses has been considered by this Court in Bhoju Mandal & Ors. v. Debnath Bhagat & Ors. AIR 1963 SC 1906. This Court repelled a submission on the ground that same was not put either to the witnesses or suggested before the courts below. Party is required to put his version to the witness. If no such questions are put the court would presume that the witness account has been accepted as held in M/s. Chuni Lal Dwarka Nath v. Hartford Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. & Anr. AIR 1958 Punjab 440. In Maroti Bansi Teli v. Radhabai w/o Tukaram Kunbi & Ors. AIR 1945 Nagpur 60, it has been laid down that the matters sworn to by one party in the pleadings not challenged either in pleadings or cross-examination by other party must be accepted as fully established. The High Court of Calcutta in A.E.G. Carapiet v. A.Y. Derderian AIR 1961 Cal. 359 has laid down that the party is obliged to put his case in cross-examination of witnesses of opposite party. The rule of putting one’s version in cross-examination is one of essential justice and not merely technical one. A Division Bench of Nagpur High Court in Kuwarlal Amritlal v. Rekhlal Koduram & Ors. AIR 1950 Nagpur 83 has laid down that when attestation is not specifically challenged and witness is not cross-examined regarding details of attestation, it is sufficient for him to say that the document was attested. If the other side wants to challenge that statement, it is their duty, quite apart from raising it in the pleadings, to cross-examine the witness along those lines. A Division Bench of Patna High Court in Karnidan Sarda & Anr. v. Sailaja Kanta Mitra AIR 1940 Patna 683 has laid down that it cannot be too strongly emphasized that the system of administration of justice allows of cross-examination of opposite party’s witnesses for the purpose of testing their evidence, and it must be assumed that when the witnesses were not tested in that way, their evidence is to be ordinarily accepted. In the aforesaid circumstances, the High Court has gravely erred in law in reversing the findings of the first Appellate Court as to the factum of execution of the sale deed in favour of the plaintiff.