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Dying Declaration Is Valid Even Though It Was Recorded in Front of Relatives in the Hospital: Supreme Court

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Case Name: Satpal vs. State of Haryana [CRA 261 of 2021]


The Supreme Court in a criminal case on 3 March 2021 observed that a dying declaration given by the deceased in the hospital in front of the relatives was valid in nature and it could not be disbelieved merely because the parents and the relatives of the deceased were present in the hospital while it was been recorded.

Facts of the case

In the present case, the information on the admission of the deceased, Pooja Rani, was received from the J.P. Hospital. The case was registered as an FIR on account of burn injuries under Section 304/34 of the Indian Penal Code on 20 March 2008. On the death of Pooja Rani, Section 302 was added to the concerned FIR. On receiving the information, the ASI of the Police Station of Yamuna Nagar went to the hospital along with other police officers. They noticed that the deceased had suffered 90% injuries and was declared fit to give the statement. The Judicial Magistrate, Ms. Kumud Gugnani recorded the statement at the request of the police.

In the recorded statement of the deceased, it was said that the accused had poured kerosene oil on her and set her on fire. Thereafter on further investigation, a charge sheet was filed against the accused and mother-in-law, brother-in-law and sister-in-law of the deceased. The rest three were later discharged and the charges were framed against the accused. Later on, in the statement recorded by the Appellant, all the allegations were denied by him. 

The trial Court, in this case, held the Appellant guilty of the offence under Section 302 of IPC. Aggrieved by the judgement and the sentence given, the Appellant preferred an appeal to the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh. The High Court dismissed the appeal and confirmed the judgement and sentence of the trial court. As a consequence, the appeal was filed in the Supreme Court.

Pleadings before the Court

In this case, the learned Counsel on behalf of the Appellant contended that the trial court had erroneously convicted the Appellant as there was not sufficient evidence present to confirm the guilt. The High Court also did not take into consideration various grounds which were raised on behalf of the Appellant and confirmed the order of the Trial Court and the sentence imposed by it on him. It was further submitted that the conviction of the Appellant was made only on the basis of the tutored dying declaration. They also contended that it was made at the instance of the family members of the deceased who were present there at the time of recording of the dying declaration.

On the other hand, the learned Counsel on behalf of the state submitted that the prosecution had proved the crime of the appellant beyond a reasonable doubt. They also contended that the deceased had told everything very clearly and was in a fit state to make the statement. It was further contended that merely the fact that the family members of the deceased reached the hospital at the time of making the statement did not make the statement a tutored one.

Court’s observation

In this case, the bench of the Supreme Court, comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and R. Subhash Reddy observed that on such occurrence, it was entirely normal that the parents and other family members might rush to the hospital. The fact that they were in the hospital was no reason to doubt the Magistrate’s recording of the deceased’s dying statement. Also, it was further observed that It could not be assumed that the deceased’s statement was tutored simply because the deceased’s parents and other relatives were present in the hospital when the statement was made.

Court’s judgement

In this case, the Court upheld the decision given by the trial Court and the High Court of Punjab and Haryana, Chandigarh and convicted the accused of the offence committed under Section 302 of IPC.

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