COMPELLING WITNESSES TO TESTIFY DESPITE SELF-INCRIMINATION CONCERNS (SECTION 132)

by | Sep 15, 2023

  1. ENGLISH LAW vs. INDIAN LAW 

In English law, witnesses cannot be forced to answer questions that might incriminate them. However, Section 132 of the Indian Evidence Act takes a different approach, obligating witnesses to answer relevant questions, even if self-incriminating.

  1. DISTINCTION FROM CONSTITUTIONAL PROTECTION 

Article 20(3) of the Indian Constitution safeguards individuals accused of offenses from self-incrimination. However, this protection does not extend to witnesses. Section 132 remains unaffected by Article 20(3).

  1. DEFINITION OF WITNESS

Section 132 applies only to individuals who are formally sworn in as witnesses and provide testimony in the witness box. It does not cover statements made during the investigative phase under Section 161 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

  1. VOLUNTARY vs. COMPELLED TESTIMONY 

Section 132 pertains to witnesses who are compelled to testify. If a person voluntarily offers testimony, they are not granted protection under this section.

  1. SAFEGUARDS FOR COMPELLED WITNESSES (PROVISO TO SECTION 132)

The proviso to Section 132 outlines important safeguards for witnesses who are compelled to answer potentially self-incriminating questions:-

  • They will not face arrest or prosecution based on their statements.
  • These statements cannot be used as evidence in criminal proceedings, with the exception of potential perjury charges for providing false testimony.

In conclusion, Section 132 of the Indian Evidence Act is a significant provision that compels witnesses to provide truthful testimony, even when their responses may incriminate them. This provision plays a crucial role in the pursuit of justice and maintaining the credibility of legal proceedings.

 

 

 

Written By Archana Singh

I am Archana Singh, a recent law master's graduate with a strong aspiration for the judicial service. My passion lies in elucidating complex legal concepts, disseminating legal news, and enhancing legal awareness. I take immense pride in introducing my new legal website - The LawGist. Through my meticulously crafted blogs and articles, I aim to empower individuals with comprehensive legal insights. My unwavering dedication is to facilitate a profound comprehension of the law, enabling people to execute judicious and well-informed choices.

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