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Reena Vs. The State of Maharashtra - (High Court of Bombay) (14 Aug 2018)

Dying declaration cannot be rejected on hyper technicalities; if it is trustworthy, conviction can be based solely on dying declaration, without any necessity of corroboration



By present appeal, the Appellant has challenged judgment passed by the trial Court, whereby she has been convicted under Section 304 Part I of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) and sentenced to suffer rigorous imprisonment for 10 years and to pay fine of Rs. 2000, The co-accused (husband of the Appellant) was acquitted by the trial Court. The trial Court found that, the contents of the said dying declarations pointed towards involvement of only the Appellant in causing the burn injuries to deceased Anita and that her co-accused i.e. husband was not involved

A dying declaration cannot be rejected on hyper technicalities and that if it is trustworthy and it inspires confidence, conviction can be based solely on the dying declaration, without any necessity of corroboration. The dying declaration must give an impression of genuineness, showing that the declarant was in a fit and conscious state of mind, who voluntarily made the statement, without any tutoring or being under any fear.

There is no material variance in the contents of the same in two dying declarations. The deceased has specifically described the manner in which the Appellant poured kerosene on her and lighted the match stick, thereby setting her on fire. In both the dying declarations, the role attributed to the appellant has been specifically stated and there is no discrepancy in the two versions. Both the dying declarations carry endorsement of doctors about fitness and conscious state of the deceased Anita when she made the two dying declarations.

As held by the Constitution Bench of the Hon'ble Supreme Court in the case of Laxman Vs. State of Maharashtra, there can be no specified statutory form for recording a dying declaration and that what is essentially required is that the person who records the dying declaration must be satisfied that the deceased is in a fit state of mind. Therefore, the objection raised on behalf of the Appellant that the two dying declarations in the present case could not be believed, is not sustainable.

The evidence of PW 3 (mother of the deceased) clearly establishes the presence of the accused at the place and time of the incident. The evidence of the defence witnesses has not been able to dislodge the prosecution case, which clearly stood fortified by the aforesaid two dying declarations on record. The trial Court was justified in relying upon the same as the dying declarations are found to be believable, trustworthy and inspiring confidence. The evidence and material on record was properly analyzed by the trial Court while convicting the Appellant under Section 304 Part I of the IPC, while acquitting the co-accused. Appeal is dismissed and the impugned judgment and order passed by the trial Court is confirmed.

Relevant : Laxman vs. State of MaharashtraMANU/SC/0707/2002


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