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Certificate of fitness is not mandatory in a dying declaration: Karnataka High Court

It is the fundamental right of every individual to choose who they want to marry and love. This is an extension to right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This remarkable judgement was passed by the Kalaburagi bench of the Karnataka High Court, consisting of Justice S Sunil Dutt Yadav and  Justice P Krishna Bhat in the matter of Vijay @ Vijendra v The State of Karnatak, [Criminal Appeal No. 2000141/ 2016].

The accused is alleged to have been in love with the deceased and intended to marry her. In light of the same, he went to the deceased’s house to profess his love for her and asked her to marry him to which she said she needed to consult her parents, and refused. The accused stabbed her seven to eight times with a knife he was carrying, with the deceased’s sister being present in the house. Thus, she was the key witness in this scene of crime. The deceased before dying, explained in detail the injuries caused to her and by whom which was later considered as the dying declaration.

The accused argued that the dying deceleration was a cooked up document and not reliable. He argued that there was no endorsement  certificate from the medical officer confirming the fact that the victim was in the state of mind to give her statement against the accused. Further, what supported his argument was that during the entire duration of which the victim was admitted in hospital, no statement was recorded by the medical officer, which again results in her statement being unreliable.

Lastly, the accused took the defence of grave and sudden provocation, which was blatantly rejected by the court on the following grounds. Firstly,  it was the accused who went to the victim’s house to ask her hand for marriage and secondly, he went with a weapon, which suggests that he had planned to attack her if she refuses to accept his proposal.

The Court relied on Laxman v State of Maharashtra, [(2002) 6 SCC 710]  while it opined on the dying declaration that, “it was voluntary and she was in a fit state of mind at that time , a certificate regarding fitness by a doctor is not mandatory”.

Further, in light of the defence the accused tried to take, the court observed that, “to permit the accused to take defence of grave and sudden provocation  is obnoxious and will result in negation of the fundamental rights  the deceased under article 14, 19(1)(a) ad 21 of the constitution of India”.

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