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The judge asked the clerk to first read out the pledge to the witness. The clerk read out the pledge: I promise to tell the truth; I will not conceal any fact; I affirm to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.
Kamalakanta: Oh, alright.
The witness did not raise further objections but recited the pledge. The complainant's counsel rose to examine him. He admonished, "Let's not have any more of your rascality - reply truthfully to my questions. Don't indulge in irrelevant talk."
Kamalakanta: Do I have to reply only to your questions? Can't I say anything more?
Kamalakanta appealed to the judge, "But, Your Honour, I have pledged not to conceal anything. However, here I am required to say only what the attorneybabu prompts me to say; I cannot say anything else. Much will, therefore, remain unsaid. So, please don't hold me guilty of breaching my pledge."
Judge: You may explain essential aspects if necessary even if not asked.
Kamalakanta saluted the judge, and the attorney commenced his examination.
Attorney: Your name?
Kamalakanta: Shri Kamalakanta Chakraborty.
Attorney: Your age?
Kamalakanta looked at the clock in the courtroom and made some mental calculations before replying, "51 years, two months, 13 days, five minutes .."
Attorney: This is ridiculous. Who wants to know the hours and minutes?
Kamalakanta: But you have pledged me not to conceal anything.
Attorney: Do as you please! I can't argue with you. Where do you reside?
Kamalakanta: I don't have a residence. I don't even have a hut.
Attorney: Then, where do you live?
Kamalakanta: Here and there.
Attorney: Where have you put up now?
Kamalakanta: Why, here in this courtroom!
Attorney: Where did you sleep yesterday?
Kamalakanta: In a shop.
"There is no need to enquire further regarding the place of residence," the judge said and noted down that the witness had no permanent residence.
Attorney: What is your profession?
Kamalakanta: I have no profession.
Attorney: Then, how do you eat?
Kamalakanta: I pick up the food with my right hand and put it into my mouth.
Attorney: But, from where do you get the food?
Kamalakanta: If God provides, I eat; else I go hungry.
Attorney: Do you earn anything?
Kamalakanta: Not a single paisa.
Attorney: Then, what do you do? Steal?
Kamalakanta: If that had been the case I would have sought your protection long ago. Perhaps, you might have obtained a share.
The complainant's counsel gave up. "I don't want this witness," he told the Court.
Prasanna, the complainant, urged her counsel not to give up the witness. "This case won't stand without his testimony," she said, "this man always tells the truth, I know it. You are not asking proper questions so he is behaving this way. What profession can he have? He wanders from house to house asking for food, and you want to know how he earns his living!
At this, the attorney told the judge, "The witness lives by begging."
Kamalakanta was really angry now. "What? Kamalakanta Chakraborty, a beggar! I have never begged for a single paisa ever in my life."
Prasanna could not check herself this time. "Why! Don't you beg for opium?"
Kamalakanta: Bah, you milkmaid! Are money and opium the same thing? I have never begged for money.
The judge smiled and asked, "What do I note down, Kamalakanta?"
Kamalakanta softened a bit and said, "Your Honour, please note down that my profession is to accept invitations to free meals offered to brahmins." There was laughter in the courtroom; the judge noted down as the witness said.
The attorney recommenced his questioning.
Some useful links for
- Union Public Service Commission - www.upsc.gov.in
- IIT-Kharagpur - www.iitkgp.ac.in
- Indian Statistical Institute - www.isical.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Technology Madras - www.iitm.ac.in
- Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad - www.iimahd.ernet.in
- Indian Institute of Mass Commission - www.iimc.nic.in
- IIT Bombay - www.iitb.ac.in
- Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad - www.ismdhanbad.ac.in
- Birla Institute of Technology, Ranchi - www.bitmesra.ac.in
- Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training - www.cifnet.nic.in
- Indian Institute of Information Technology, Allahabad (Deemed University) - www.iiita.ac.in
- Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute, Kochi - www.cmfri.com
- Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai - www.tiss.edu