New Delhi: Relying on the dying declaration of the victim, the Supreme Court has sentenced a man and his parents for life imprisonment for killing his wife by setting her on fire.
A bench of justices B S Chauhan and Dipak Misra quashed the order of the Madhya Pradesh High Court which had acquitted the trio on the ground that the dying declaration cannot be relied upon as she suffered 100 per cent burns and was not in a fit condition to make a statement.
"The requirement of a certificate provided by a doctor in respect of such state of the deceased is not essential in every case. Undoubtedly, the subject of the evidentiary value and acceptability of a dying declaration must be approached with caution for the reason that the maker of such a statement cannot be subjected to cross-examination.
"However, the court may not look for corroboration of a dying declaration unless the declaration suffers from any infirmity," the bench said.
The bench said there is no prescribed form for recording dying declaration and it should not be brushed aside by courts just because of minor contradiction in the statements made by the deceased.
"The law on the issue can be summarised to the effect that law does not provide who can record a dying declaration nor is there any prescribed form, format or procedure for the same. The person who records a dying declaration must be satisfied that the maker is in a fit state of mind and is capable of making such a statement," the bench said.