`Dying declaration should be scrutinised minutely`
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Last Updated: Monday, May 17, 2010, 20:13
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that a dying declaration should be scrutinised as minutely as possible since there is a tendency particularly among wives to implicate their in-laws in false cases of murder or attempt to murder.

The apex court said courts should scrutinise such declaration with a "miscroscopic eye" to find out the truthfulness as the victims at times are bound to be influenced by relatives to implicate innocent persons.

"The court has to examine a dying declaration scrupulously with a micrscopic eye to find out whether the dying declaration is voluntary, truthful, made in a conscious state of mind without being influenced by the relatives present or by the investigating agency who may be interested in the success of investigation or which may be negligent while recording the dying declaration.

"A number of times, a young girl or a wife, who makes the dying declaration, could be under the impression that she would lead a peaceful, congenial, happy and blissful married life only with her husband and therefore, has a tendency to implicate the inconvenient parents-in-law or other relatives," a bench of Justices V S Sirpurkar and Mukundakam Sharma said in a judgement.

At the same time, the apex court said a dying declaration cannot be rejected merely because there were certain factual errors.

"Again, it is extremely difficult to reject a dying declaration merely because there are few factual errors committed. The court has to weigh all the attendant circumstances and come to the independent finding whether the dying declaration was properly recorded and whether it was voluntary and truthful.

"Once the court is convinced that the dying declaration is so recorded, it may be acted upon and can be made a basis of conviction," the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while dismissing the appeal of Puran Chand who was imposed life imprisonment along with Gurdial for setting ablaze the latter's wife Santosh on December 8, 1997, in Haryana in a dowry-related case.

Though Gurdial did not challenge his conviction, Chand, his elder brother, appealed in the apex court contending that he was innocent as there were several inaccuracies in the dying declaration.

However, the apex court, after examining the records in the case, found no infirmities in the dying declaration of Santosh and accordingly upheld the life sentence.


First Published: Monday, May 17, 2010, 20:13

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