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Dying declaration made genuinely and naturally by the victim cannot be unreasonably disbelieved: Supreme Court

The dying declaration is the most relevant piece of evidence to which one may resort to. A dying declaration is a statement made by a prudent individual who is aware that death is inescapable due to the critical circumstances and situations which he/she had undergone and on that he considers being the cause or circumstances of his death. Thus, it is the most credible and trustworthy piece of evidence.

In the case of Satpal v. State of Haryana [CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.261 OF 2021], the Supreme Court had upheld the importance of the dying declaration. The fact of the case initiates when the appeal was filed by the accused in Session Case No.20 of 2008, on the file of the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Yamuna Nagar at Jagadhri, who was aggrieved by the judgment and order dated 05th September 2016, issued by the High Court of Punjab and Haryana at Chandigarh, which confirmed his conviction and sentence for an offense under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The dispute of law initiates when the deceased has stated that the appellant/ accused had poured kerosene oil on her and set her on fire. The appellant / accused, as well as three others, Kamlesh, Mitter Sain, and Anjali, the deceased’s mother-in-law, brother-in-law, and sister-in-law, were charged after an investigation. The other accused persons, however, were discharged by order dated 12.08.2008, and a charge was laid against the appellant herein for an offense punishable under Section 302 of the IPC, to which he pleaded not guilty and demanded a trial.

The above allegations were denied by the appellant and he pleaded that it was falsely implicated in as much as the deceased, Pooja Rani, was under a misconception that he had illicit relations with Anjali (sister-in-law). On behalf of the appellant / accused, no witnesses were examined.

The Judges, in this case, were Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice R. Subhash Reddy. Thus, it was held in the case that “If we look at dying declaration, recorded by the Magistrate, it looks natural and no reason to disbelieve the same. In addition to the dying declaration, the statements of PW-5 and PW-6, who are mother and maternal uncle respectively of the deceased, corroborate the case of prosecution. It is clear from their statements that the deceased was tortured at the hands of the appellant and his family members. The Magistrate, in her deposition, has clearly stated that the relatives of deceased, Pooja Rani, were not there at the time of recording dying declaration of the deceased.”

it clearly establishes the guilt of the appellant, beyond reasonable doubt, as such, we find no merit in any of the contentions, advanced by the learned counsel for the appellant. Further, merely because the parents and other relatives of the deceased were present in the Hospital, when the statement of the deceased was recorded, it cannot be said that the said statement was a tutored one. It is quite natural that when such an incident happens, the parents and other relatives try to reach the hospital immediately. Merely because they were in the hospital, the same is no ground to disbelieve the dying declaration, recorded by the Magistrate, who was examined as PW-16.”

Thus there was no error in the judgment previously passed and the criminal appeal was devoid by merits and was dismissed accordingly.

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