Courts must ensure veracity of dying declaration: SC

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has asked lower courts to ensure the veracity of a dying declaration which should be free from tutoring to inspire full confidence about its correctness for convicting an accused.

"The dying declaration is recognised by law to be given greater weightage but it should be such which inspires full confidence of the court of its correctness," a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and Deepak Verma said.

It also cautioned the subordinate courts "to be on guard that such statement of deceased was not a result of either tutoring, prompting or product of imagination."

The apex court made the remarks while setting aside the conviction and life imprisonment awarded to a woman by a trial court, which was affirmed by the Rajasthan High Court, in connection with the death of his daughter-in-law on the ground that the first two dying declarations of the victim were not consistent with the third one.

The trial court and the High Court had relied on one of the three dying declarations of the victim to hold the accused guilty.

The victim had given three dying declarations with the first two stating that she died of accidental fire while cooking.

Ignoring them, the trial court and the high court had given credence to the third declaration made by her before an executive magistrate in which it was stated that the mother-in-law had poured kerosene oil and set her on fire.