The decision that a dying declaration is by itself sufficient to convict an accused of the accusation levelled against him provided the dying declaration is found to be voluntary, truthful and hence, could inspire the confidence of the court was upheld by the Bombay High Court through the Division Bench of Justice Sadhana S. Jadhav and Justice Milind N. Jadhav in the case of Satish Mahadeo Kale v. State of Maharashtra (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.209 OF 2014) with 9CRIMINAL APPLICATION NO. 35 OF 2018).
FACTS OF THE CASE:
The appellant was married to a woman named Manisha, who was brought to a hospital in 2009 with a history of burn injuries.
Manisha told the police that her spouse had always been under the influence of alcohol and always pressurized her to pay for the booze. She further alleged that if she declined, the appellant would assault and abuse her.
One night after Manisha refused to pay for the alcohol, she woke up from her sleep to find her husband pouring kerosene on her. In an attempt to save herself, she tried to flee the house. However, the appellant lit a matchstick and threw it at her, setting her ablaze.
Afterwards, she cried loudly, and her sister-in-law attempted to rescue her, while her husband, who had abandoned the house, arrived and pretended to extinguish the flames. In light of the foregoing, a charge sheet for the offence punishable under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was submitted.
The High Court noted that the trial court did not refer to the patient’s own history. Furthermore, the history related by the patient before the doctor cast doubt on the statement recorded and was considered to be the dying declaration. According to the High Court, the appellant has been in detention since 2009 and deserved to be cleared of all accusations levelled against him since the dying declaration would compel the Court to adopt another conceivable view. As a result, the appeal was allowed.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY REETI SHETTY