Ramesh & others v. state of Haryana

The Supreme Court in the present judgement decides the admissibility of the Dying Declaration made by the deceased in the present facts and circumstances of the case. The Supreme Court also elaborates on the reasons which lead the witness to turn hostile. `

Ramesh & others v. State of Haryana

Criminal appeal nos. 2526 of 2014

In the supreme court of India

Bench: A.K. Sikri and Amitava Roy, JJ.

Delivered on: November 22, 2016

Advocates for appellant: Mr. Praveen Kumar Aggarwal, Adv., Mr. U.P. Singh, Adv., Mr. Sanjay Jain, Adv.

Advocates for respondent: Mr. Jaydeep Kumar Sharma, Adv., Mr. Gyanendra Kumar, Adv., Mr. Vishwa Pal Singh, Adv.

Brief Facts: the marriage between the accused husband and the deceased wife were solemnized 20 years before. Out of the said marriage, they had two sons. In the dying declaration, two incidents were narrated by the deceased:

  • She was thrown into the well after her marriage by her husband
  • She was set at ablaze by her husband, devar, devarani & mother-in-law. These people also used to demand dowry by means of buffalo, money or scooter.

A FIR No. 254 on 28th September 1999 was registered in the police station against the accused persons for the offenses under section 302, 34, 498A of Indian Penal Code, 1960.

Procedural History:

Trial Court the court has observed that the prosecution cannot prove the guilt beyond doubt. On the basis of the witness statement of the Judicial Magistrate, the brother of deceased and on the conduct of other in-laws who took her to the hospital the court found that the Dying Declaration is weak and not trustworthy.

High Court- this court did not agree with these contentions of the trial court and convicted the accused.

The dying declaration is the bone of contention here. This acted as an aid with section 34 of Indian Evidence Act. The conviction is mainly relied upon dying declaration.

Issue:

  • If two views are possible, with regards to acquittal and conviction, what should be done?
  • In the present facts and circumstances, is the Dying Declaration acceptable?

Arguments on behalf of the appellant:

  • High Court should not tinker with the decision of the trial court when two views are possible
  • The dying declaration was not to be believed because the accused husband was with the brother of the deceased, on the day the incident took place.
  • 100% burn injuries to the deceased would not make her capable of giving the statement- thus the doctor’s statement is not to be relied upon.

Arguments on behalf of respondent:

  • Incident took place in the matrimonial house
  • The authorities were fully satisfied with the fitness of the deceased. Thus the test of Dying declaration is satisfied.

Held:

  • When there are two views possible, then the view which is in the favor of the appellant should be taken.
  • If the doctor finds that the mental stability is perfect than 100% burn injuries are not to be considered for discarding the dying declaration.
  • The private witness 4 (brother of the deceased) was won over by the accused because according to the hospital authorities it was the accused who brought the deceased to the hospital.

Thus the appeal is dismissed.

Ratio:

 

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