1. Compulsory Attendance —
A Court can compel the personal attendance of any witness residing within the local limits of its jurisdiction, or without such limits if the person to be summoned is at a place, not more than fifty miles from the Court house or not more than two hundred miles if there is a railway communication or public conveyance for 5/6th of distance, provided that he is not exempted under any of the provisions of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908. A proviso has been added to Order XVI, Rule 19, Civil Procedure Code in Punjab with the result that a Court situate in the State of Punjab may require the personal attendance of any witness residing in the State of Punjab or the Union Territory of Delhi. (High Court Notification No. 60 —General IX Y. 8, dated the 4th March, 1955).
2. Attendance of pardanashin ladies —
Under Section 132 of the Code of Civil Procedure, 1908, women, who according to the customs and manners of the country, ought not to be compelled to appear in public shall be exempt from personal attendance in Court.
3. Other exemptions —
The Court has a discretion to exempt from attendance as witness any person who in the opinion of the Court, is from sickness or infirmity unable so to attend (Order XXVI Rule 1, C.P.C.), or being a Civil or Military Officer of the Government, cannot attend without detriment to the Public Service (Order XXVI Rule 4, C.P.C.). As regards the attendance of Patwaries in Civil Courts Part B of this Chapter should be referred to.
4. Evidence by Commission —
The Court may issue a Commission for the examination of a witness, whose attendance cannot be compelled according to law, or cannot be secured for any other sufficient reason in the circumstances specified in Order XXVI of the Civil Procedure Code.
5. Service of processes —
The general procedure for issue of processes to witnesses is the same as that in respect of defendants. For detailed instructions on the subject.
6. Non-attendance, proof of service—
Where a witness summoned to attend to give evidence or produce a document, fails to attend or to produce the document, without lawful excuse, the Court shall, on return of the service of the summons, examine the serving officer on oath, if his certificate has not been verified by affidavit and it may do so even when the certificate has already been so verified, to satisfy itself that the summons was duly served.
7. Proclamation, attachment and arrest in case of non-attendance — The Court, on being satisfied that the person summoned has intentionally failed to attend or to produce the document in compliance with such summons without any lawful excuse and that his evidence or the document is material, may, issue a proclamation requiring him to attend to give evidence or produce the document at a time and place to be named therein. Or, the Court, may, in lieu thereof, or in addition to it, issue a warrant, with or without bail, for the arrest of such person and may make also an order for the attachment of his property to such an amount as it deems fit to cover the costs of the attachment and any fine which may be imposed for his failure to attend, not exceeding Rs. 500. (vide Order XVI, Rule 10 Code of Civil Procedure, 1908).
Whenever such person appears and satisfies the Court that he did not, without lawful excuse, fail to comply with the summons, the Court release the attachment or cancel the warrant of arrest, as the case may be. Where such person does not appear, or appears but fails to satisfy the Court that there was a lawful excuse for his absence, the Court may impose a fine, not exceeding Rs. 500 to be recovered by the attachment (if not already effected) and sale of his property (Order XVI, Rule 12, Code of Civil Procedure, 1908).
9. Party as witness—
It should be noted that, where a party to a suit is required to give evidence or produce a document, the provisions...