The Supreme Court recently held that if the victim has given more than one dying statement then each statement should be “independently evaluated on merit”.
A bench of Justice DY Chandrachud and Justice MR Shah said on Thursday that the facts of one statement cannot be dismissed because of any contradiction of another statement in case of a dying declaration. The SC was hearing an appeal of a man from Karnataka and upheld his conviction, awarded by the Karnataka High Court.
The bench, while quoting from previous verdicts, held that if the victim has given many statements before dying, then every statement should be evaluated separately. The court should satisfy itself by assessing each statement in its true sense.
A dying declaration is an admissible evidence as per section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act. In another judgment recently, the Supreme Court had held that there cannot be any rigid yardstick for evaluating dying declarations.
A man named Nagabhushan in Karnataka had burnt his wife to death demanding dowry. The wife had recorded two statements before she died and there was a contradiction in facts in both the statements. The lower court had acquitted the convict because of the two dying declarations with contradictory facts. After the appeal, the Karnataka High Court sentenced the accused husband to life imprisonment.
The convict had challenged the decision of the Karnataka High Court in the Supreme Court.
Before her death, the victim had made a statement that the incident of fire was just an accident. In her second statement, recorded in front of her parents, she said that her husband had set her on fire. She informed the police that in her first statement she narrated the incident as an accident because her husband had threatened to kill the children.