Delhi court upholds victim's statement as dying declaration
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
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.