The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Omkar vs State Of M.P. (CRA 646 of 2011) upheld that there is neither rule of law nor of prudence that the Dying Declaration cannot be acted upon without corroboration.
Facts of the case: on 18-10-2009 at around 10:00 in the night on receiving an information, Head Constable Bharat Singh Thakur (PW3) who was posted at Police Station Kurwai, District Vidisha, reached Village Sarkhandi and on the basis of information given by injured Smt. Rambai, a Dehati Nalishi (Ex.P.6) was recorded on the spot to the effect that an evil term was going with Smt. Rambai with her neighbor Pratap Kushwah since one year. At around 7:00 pm, Smt. Rambai along with her daughter-in-law Shakunbai (PW7) had returned home. In front of the door of her house, Omkar, Pooran, Pratap, Chintu, Hukum & Kallu came there and hurled abuses. Pooran took out a plastic container and poured kerosene on her and Omkar set her ablaze by matchstick. Chintoo and Pooran both caught hold of her hands and legs and the saree of injured Smt. Rambai caught fire. On hearing her weeping, her daughter-in-law Rupabai (PW11) and his son Vinod (PW8) came there for rescue. Skin of her face, chest, abdomen, thighs and hands were on fire. Her son and daughter-in-law Rupabai put on clothes and water to save her life. On the basis of the Dehati Nalishi recorded by Head Constable Bharat Singh Thakur (PW3), a Crime was registered at PS Kurwai. Injured Smt.Rambai was sent for medical examination to CHC Kurwai. Dr.PK Jain (PW6) conducted MLC of Smt. Rambai. On the basis of Dehati Nalishi, Head Constable Bahadur Singh Yadav (PW13) of PS Kurwai recorded an FIR for offences under Sections 147, 148, 307 of IPC. Pratap Singh, Omkar, Hukum Singh, Prahlad Singh, Pooran and Chintoo alias Maharaj Singh were arrested.
Injured Smt. Rambai was admitted in Burn Ward, Hamadia Hospital, Bhopal where on 20- 10-2009 at around 03:15 in the night, she died and information regarding the death of deceased was given to Police Chowki Kohefiza, Hamidia Hospital, Bhopal.
The statements of accused were recorded under Section 313 CrPC by the Trial Court and they denied the prosecution and stated that they have been falsely implicated due to previous enmity and on the date of incident, they were not present on the place of occurrence. The trial Court has committed an error in considering police statement of deceased Smt. Rambai as Dying Declaration and has wrongly convicted and sentenced appellants without there being any credible evidence available against them.
Judgment : The court held that so far as the contention of the counsel for the appellants that the statement given by deceased Smt. Rambai cannot be termed as ”Oral Dying Declaration” is concerned, it would be appropriate to discuss relevant provisions of law. Under Section 32 of Indian Evidence Act, 1872, a dying declaration is a relevant factor in evidence. When a declaration is made by a person whose death is imminent, the principle attributed to Matthew Arnold that “truth sits upon the lip of a dying man” will come into play. The whole idea of accepting a statement in the name of Dying Declaration comes from a maxim “Nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire” which means ”a man will not meet his maker with a lie in his mouth”. There is neither rule of law nor of prudence that Dying Declaration cannot be acted upon without corroboration.
Where the eyewitnesses state that the deceased was in a fit and conscious state to make the declaration, the medical opinion will not prevail, nor can it be said that since there is no certification of the doctor as to the fitness of the mind of the declarant, the Dying Declaration is not acceptable. A Dying Declaration can be oral or in writing and in any adequate method of communication whether by words or by signs or otherwise will suffice provided the indication is positive and definite.
The Trial Court had rightly relied upon their evidence as well as Dehati Nalishi and the statement of deceased treating it as true disclosure of facts by deceased Smt. Rambai and the medical evidence also fully corroborates the version given by the deceased. The court upheld the conviction and sentence awarded by Trial Court to the appellants for offense who had been charged with. The appeal was accordingly dismissed.
JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY