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Makhan Singh vs. The State Of Haryana - (Supreme Court) (16 Aug 2022)

Dying declaration can be the sole basis for recording conviction and if it is found reliable and trustworthy, no corroboration is required

MANU/SC/1003/2022

Criminal

The Appellant¬ has approached present Court being aggrieved by the judgment passed by the High Court vide which the High Court, though reduced the sentence awarded from 10 years to 7 years, but concurred with the judgment and order of conviction recorded by the trial court in Sessions Case for the offence punishable under Section 304¬B of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’).

The Court is required to examine as to whether the dying declaration is true and reliable; as to whether it has been recorded by a person at a time when the deceased was fit physically and mentally to make the declaration; as to whether it has been made under any tutoring/duress/prompting. The dying declaration can be the sole basis for recording conviction and if it is found reliable and trustworthy, no corroboration is required. In case there are multiple dying declarations and there are inconsistencies between them, the dying declaration recorded by the higher officer like a Magistrate can be relied upon. However, this is with the condition that there is no circumstance giving rise to any suspicion about its truthfulness. In case there are circumstances wherein the declaration has not been found to be made voluntarily and is not supported by any other evidence, the Court is required to scrutinize the facts of an individual case very carefully and take a decision as to which of the declarations is worth reliance.

The prosecution had not examined Ms. Vani Gopal Sharma (DW¬1) and K.K. Rao, DSP (DW¬2). It therefore creates a serious doubt with regard to fairness and impartiality of the IO. Apart from that, it is to be noted that on the basis of very same evidence, the trial court, by giving benefit of doubt, has acquitted the father and mother of the appellant. In that view of the matter, conviction of the Appellant on the very same evidence, was improper.

In the facts and circumstances of the present case, the first dying declaration will have to be considered to be more reliable and trustworthy as against the second one. In any case, the benefit of doubt which has been given to the other accused by the trial court, ought to have been equally given to the present appellant when the evidence was totally identical against all the three accused. High Court and the judgment and order passed by the trial court is set aside. The appellant is acquitted of all the charges charged with and his bail bonds shall stand discharged. Appeal allowed.

Tags : CONVICTION   DYING DECLARATION   LEGALITY  

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