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No oral testimony can be considered satisfactory or valid unless it is tested by cross-examination

AIR 1989 SC 162 Supreme Court in the case of Modula India v. Kamakshya Singh Deo, and has held as under.- "It is a well-established proposition that no oral testimony can be considered satisfactory or valid unless it is tested by cross-examination. The mere statement of the plaintiffs witnesses cannot constitute the plaintiffs evidence in the case unless and until it is tested by cross-examination. The right of the defence to cross-examine the plaintiffs witnesses can, therefore, be looked upon not as a part of its own strategy of defence but rather as a requirement without which the plaintiffs evidence cannot be acted upon. Looked at from this point of view it should be possible to take the view that, though the defence of the tenant has been struck out, there is nothing in law to preclude him from demonstrating to the Court that the plaintiffs witnesses are not speaking the truth or that the evidence put forward by the plaintiff is not sufficient to fulfill the terms of the statute". Further, it held.- "We, therefore, think that the defendant should be allowed his right of cross-examination and arguments. But, we are equally clear that this right should be subject to certain important safeguards. The first of these is that the defendant cannot be allowed to lead his own evidence. None of the observations or decisions cited have gone to the extent of suggesting that, in spite of the fact that the defence has been struck off, the defendant can adduce evidence of his own or try to substantiate his own case"…… Supreme Court had to say.- "Again under Rule 10 when any party from whom a written statement is required fails to present the same within the time permitted or fixed by the Court, the Court "shall pronounce judgment against him or make such order in relation to the suit as it thinks fit". It will be seen that these rules are only permissive in nature. They enable the Court in an appropriate case to pronounce a decree straightaway on the basis of the plaint and the averments contained therein. Though the present language of Rule 10 says that the Court "shall" pronounce judgment against him, it is obvious from the language of the rule that there is still an option with the Court either to pronounce judgment on the basis of the plaint against the defendant or to make such other appropriate order as the Court may think fit. Therefore, there is nothing in these rules, which makes it mandatory for the Court to pass a decree in favour of the plaintiff straightaway because a written statement has not been filed".

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