SMT. LAXMI Vs. OM PARKASH & ORS.
Coram: R.C. LAHOTI, DORAISWAMY RAJU
2001 AIR 2383 2001( 3 )SCR 777 2001( 6 )SCC 118 2001( 4 )SCALE241 2001( 5 )JT 280
Penal Code, 1860-S.302/34-Death of housewife due to burn injuries- Five statements said to be dying declarations implicating husband and in-laws-No other evidence in corroboration-Trial Court acquitting the accused holding that they dying declarations were not worthy of reliance-Held, justified- Evidence Act, 1872-S.32. Evidence Act, 1872-Section 32. Dying declaration-Admissibility of-Death of house wife due to burn injuries-Five dying declarations implicating husband and in-laws-Victim not in a fit physical and mental condition to make the statements-No other evidence in corroboration-Trial Court acquitting the accused holding that dying declarations were not worthy of reliance-On appeal, Held, a dying declaration is an important and reliable piece of evidence for recording conviction-But court can look for corroboration if it suffers from any infirmities-Main test for reliability is the fit physical and mental condition of the victim-On facts and circumstances of the case, Trial Court justified in acquitting the accused-Penal Code, I860-Section 302/34. Dying declaration-Admissibility of-More than one declaration- Though consistent yet infirm-Effect of-Held, it is not the number of dying declarations which will weigh with the court-Court not to act upon dying declarations merely because they are more then one and apparently consistent. Dying declaration made to a police officer-Admissibility of-Held, though admissible, practice of dying declaration being recorded by investigating officer is discouraged unless the condition of victim is so precarious that there was no other alternative except to record the statement by investigating officer. Respondents - accused were prosecuted for an offence under section 302/34 of the I.P.C. for unnatural death of a housewife due to extensive burn injuries. The respondents were husband, mother-in-law and sister-in-law of the deceased housewife. Accused-husband informed the police control room that his wife had set herself on fire by pouring kerosene oil. Police reached the place of occurrence and took the victim to the hospital. The victim had sustained 85% burn injuries involving front of truck, both thighs, arms, parts of face and the skin of the hands had peeled off. According to doctors attending on her, condition was constantly deteriorating due to dehydration. The deceased before succumbing to her injuries was said to have made five dying declarations to different persons implicating the accused persons for burning her. The first dying declaration was made to ASI (PW5) on her way to hospital in PCR Van. The second dying declaration was made to the Doctor (PW 9) in the hospital. The third dying declaration was recorded by Superintendent of Police and the fourth one was made to Sub-Divisional Magistrate (PW 16). The fifth dying declaration was an oral statement made by deceased to her brother (PW 3). Trial Court held that the dying declarations subjected to judicial scrutiny were not worthy of reliance to base conviction either collectively or individually, and acquitted the accused. The State did not challenge the acquittal. Hence the present appeal by the mother of the deceased.
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