Dying Declaration can be relied upon without corroboration but it must be subject to close scrutiny: Supreme Court of India

The Supreme Court of India, through learned judges, Justice Suryakant and Justice JB Pardiwala in the case of Kamal Khudal v. State of Assam (W.P. (CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 470 OF 2015) observed that dying declaration can be relied upon without corroboration but it must be subject to close scrutiny.

BRIEF FACTS: This appeal, by special leave, was at the instance of a convict accused of the offence of murder and was directed against the judgment and order passed by the Gauhati High Court dismissing the Criminal Appeal No. 86 of 2010 by which it affirmed the judgment and order of conviction passed by the Additional Sessions Judge (FTC), Sivasagar in the Sessions Case No. 57 of 2008. It appears from the materials on record that all three accused persons were put on trial in the Court of the Additional Sessions Judge (FTC), Sivasagar, including the appellant wherein all three accused were charged with the offence punishable under Section 302 read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Code. 

FINDINGS OF THE COURT: The court observed that oral dying declaration of the deceased made before Hanu Khetrapal  stands  corroborated with the medical evidence on record. The court also took notice  of the fact that the appellant herein came to be arrested, almost after about 8 days from the date of incident.  He was absconding. He was not available at his house.  The appellant accused in his further statement recorded under   Section   313   of   the   CrPC   has   not   explained   where   he   was between 15.07.2007 and 23.07.2007, that is, till the date of his arrest. The court remarked that this was one another incriminating circumstance and, if taken into consideration with the other circumstances on record, would bear some relevance while deciding the guilt of the accused. In the overall view of the matter, the court was  convinced that there was  no good reason to interfere in the present appeal. The court did not find any fundamental or basic infirmity in the impugned judgement of the High Court going to the root of the matter calling for any interference by this Court. The appeal was hereby dismissed.

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