‘Dying declaration unreliable if person survives’

Last Updated: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 21:45

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that
the dying declaration of a person cannot be relied upon if the
person survives and quashed the life sentence of educationist
S Arul Raja, key accused in the murder of former Tamil Nadu
Law Minister Alladi Aruna.

A Bench of Justices Mukundakam Sharma and C K Prasad
said no reliance can be placed on the dying declaration made
by a person, if he or she subsequently survived.

"It is trite law that for a statement to be admissible in
evidence as a dying declaration, the person making the
statement should no longer be alive. If the person eventually
does not die after making the statement, then the same cannot
be treated as dying declaration," the Bench said in its
judgement.

The apex court quashed the life sentence imposed by
the Madras High Court on Arul Raja for the murder of Alladi
Aruna which occurred on December 31, 2004.

The Bench allowed an appeal by Raja challenging the
judgment of the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court in
August 2009, reversing the order of acquittal by the trial
court in April 2008.

The prosecution had alleged Arul Raja had hired killers
Veldurai(accused No 1) and others to carry out the contract
killing for Rs five lakh following a dispute over the running
of an engineering college at Athiyuthu by Alladi Aruna.

It was alleged that Raja had nursed a grudge against
Aruna after the latter started his own engineering college and
the former`s own engineering college was disaffiliated by the
Anna University, which he felt was carried out at the behest
of the slain leader.

Though the sessions court in Tirunelveli, acquitted Raja
of the charge, the High Court reversed the acquittal mainly on
the basis of the dying declaration made by Veldurai in which
he implicated Raja.

However, the apex court noted that the prosecution`s
claim that Veldurai and co-accused Benny had both consumed
cynaide after being caught by the police in Gujarat could not
be believed. Benny died after consuming the poison while
Veldurai survived.

"There is nothing on record to show that AI (Veldurai)
also had consumed poison or that he was in any manner ill or
injured which necessiated his admission to the hospital for
treatment," the apex court said.

-PTI



First Published: Monday, August 2, 2010 - 21:45

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