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Consciousness of the court must be satisfied before convicting: Kerala HC

In the case of Manikandan versus State of Kerala [CRL.A.No 478 of 2016], the trial court convicted four men for murdering Raveendran and Gopalakrishnan. They were said to be CPI(M) sympathizers and were murdered by the opposition party while returning from a marriage reception party. The high court reiterated that the gravity of crime by itself cannot be made a factor to uphold the conviction while acquitting 4 RSS workers in a political murder case.

The court observed that the opinion of the doctor has to be taken into consideration while relying on the lengthy statement as that of the deceased. The physical as well as mental condition of the patient has to be noted so that it would be of great help while cross examination of the medical officer takes place. In the present case since the condition of the injured and deceased was not recorded, it is quiet inevitable to believe that the deceased was neither in any condition to write any lengthy statement as presented in the court nor was his conditions recorded by the medical practitioner nor did the police got the recorded statement verified by the doctor treating him.

 “So without an expert opinion by a Doctor about the condition of the patient, it is highly unsafe for a court of law to accept such a lengthy statement as that of the deceased person. That is more so because the person who alleged to have recorded the statement itself disowned the handwriting and stated that it has been written by a constable accompanied him and he cannot name the person also.”

Relying on the case of Hari Singh and Anr. v. State of M.P. [2019 (8) SCC 677: 2019 KHC 6947], “wherein while dealing with admissibility of dying declaration it has been held that where the condition of the injured was serious and his blood pressure was not recordable, without getting the opinion of the doctor that patient was in a fit condition for making statement, his statement should not have been recorded. That was also a case in which the investigating officer recorded the statement of the victim under Section 161 Cr.P.C. After the death of the victim it was attempted to be proved as a dying declaration.”

The court quoted some parts of section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act which deals with the statements of the persons who cannot be called as witnesses. “Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question.”

So dying declaration is a statement made by a person as to cause of his death or as to any of the circumstances of the transactions which resulted in his death.”

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