Delhi court upholds victim`s statement as dying declaration
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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 16:07
New Delhi: Treating a critically injured person's statements to people who took him to hospital as his dying declaration, a Delhi court has convicted his assailant and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

"I do not find any reason why the said statement made by the deceased to two prosecution witnesses cannot be termed as dying declaration," Additional Sessions Judge Savita Rao said, while holding a 37-year-old accused man guilty of stabbing Lakhmi to death.

The court treated the victim's statements made to witnesses as his dying declaration despite the Evidence Act and various apex court rulings stipulating that dying declarations have to be made to a magistrate or to a police officer with a doctor certifying the victim to be in a fit mental condition to make it.

The court said the statements were made repeatedly and consistently by the victim without any variation.

Conceding that the victim did not name the assailant to any doctor, the court pointed out that his dying declaration could never be recorded officially as per the laid down procedure as he was declared not in a fit mental condition to make the statement.

"It is correct that deceased did not tell the doctor about name of the assailant but it may be noted that his official statement was never recorded since he was opined not fit to give the statement," the court said.

As per the prosecution story, the incident dates back to July 2, 2009, when accused Chhotey Lal, a resident of Khhichdipur in east Delhi, had a tiff with his neighbour Lakhmi over a small loan.

Chhotey Lal took Lakhmi to a nearby temple where he stabbed Lakhmi and ran away from there leaving himin a pool of blood.

Lakhmi was rushed to the nearby Lal Bahadur Shastri Hospital, where he died a few hours later.

While treating Lakhmi's statements made to the two prosecution witnesses prior to his death as his dying declarations, the court also ignored minor prevarications and inconsistencies in depositions by one of the prosecution witnesses on what the victim had told him.

The court ignored the prevarications, dismissing the objections by the counsel for accused, saying, "It is settled law that even a portion of deposition of a hostile witness can be relied upon if that inspires confidence."

While convicting Chhotey Lal, the court also imposed a fine of Rs 5,000 on him.


First Published: Wednesday, February 23, 2011, 16:07

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