Power of the Commissioner to declare a witness hostile
The powers delegated to the Commissioner under Order XXVI Rules 16, 16-A, 17 and 18 do not include the discretion that is vested in Court under Section 154 of the Evidence Act, 1872, to declare a witness hostile.
If a situation as to declaring a witness hostile arises before a Commission recording evidence, the concerned party shall have to obtain permission from the Court under Section 154 of the Evidence Act and it is only after grant of such permission that the Commissioner can allow a party to cross-examine his own witness.
Under section 154 of the Evidence Act, it is the Court which has to grant permission, in its discretion, to a person who calls a witness, to put any question to that witness which might be put in cross-examination by the adverse party.
Having regard to the facts of the case, the Court may either grant such permission or even consider to withdraw the Commission so as to itself record the remaining evidence or impose heavy costs if it finds that permission was sought to delay the progress of the suit or harass the opposite party.