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Once an affidavit is filed and the witness is being cross-examined on the same, the Court cannot permit the witness to withdraw his affidavit of evidence: Delhi High Court

Once an affidavit is filed and the witness is being cross-examined on the same, the Court or the authority concerned cannot permit the witness to withdraw his affidavit of evidence in any manner as upheld by the High Court of Delhi through the learned bench led by Justice Prathiba M. Singh in the case of M/S Sharat Dass and Associates v. Rameshwar Singh and Anr (W.P.(C) 12292/2021 and CM APPLs. 38585/2021, 38587/2021).

Brief facts of the case are that the present petition challenges the impugned order dated 7th October, 2021, passed by the Authority under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972, by which the witness of the Claimant/ Respondent, who was under cross-examination, has been permitted to withdraw his affidavit of evidence, and file a fresh affidavit of evidence. The case of the Petitioner in the present petition is that once the affidavit of evidence was filed by the Claimant/ Respondent’s witness, and the cross-examination was also taking place, such permission and liberty could not have been granted by the Authority under the Act.

Mr. Manan, ld. Counsel for the Petitioner, submits that in fact the claim of the Claimant/Respondent was earlier even decreed in his favour of 4 the basis of the said affidavit, which is now sought to be withdrawn, and now a fresh affidavit of evidence has been permitted to be tendered, which is contrary to law.

Ms. Richa Sharma, ld. Counsel appearing for the Claimant/ Respondent submits that during cross-examination, some questions were put in respect of certain records and the claimant wished to file certain documents in response to those questions. It is due to the said fact that a further affidavit has been permitted by the Authority under the Act.

After the perusal of facts and arguments by the learned counsel, the Hon’ble Court held, “ If in response to any questions put in cross-examination in respect of any documents, the witness wishes to produce any documents, the witness can say so when the cross-examination commences, on the next date of hearing. This Court has perused the cross-examination conducted before the Authority under the Act, which has been filed before this Court. After perusing the same, it is clear that the cross-examination has not concluded, and various questions relating to various records have in fact been put to the Workman. Accordingly, the impugned order is set aside.”

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Judgment reviewed by Vandana Ragwani

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