Uncorroborated ‘dying declaration’ may become basis of conviction if it inspires confidence

Jharkhand High Court: A Division Bench comprising of H.C. Mishra and B.B. Mangalmurti, JJ., dismissed a criminal appeal filed against the judgment of conviction and sentence passed against the appellant by the trial court.

The appellant was convicted for the murder of his father. It was alleged that on a fateful day, the appellant was taking all the paddy from the house, and when his father asked him to leave some behind, he became furious and attacked his father with a sword. The father of the appellant was taken to hospital where he recorded his statement to the Magistrate and subsequently, he died. The appellant was tried under Section 302 IPC. Material prosecution witnesses in the case including the wife of the deceased (mother of the appellant) turned hostile. However, the trial court, based on the dying declaration of the deceased, convicted the appellant. Learned counsel for the appellant assailed the judgment as it was based solely on the dying declaration of the deceased which was not corroborated by any of the witnesses.

The High Court gave due consideration to submissions made by counsel for the appellant. However, the Court was of the view that the submissions did not hold ground. The Court noted that the dying declaration was recorded by following the proper procedure. Although the witnesses turned hostile and the dying declaration was not corroborated, yet the fact remained that there was no contradiction between the dying declaration and the first statement given by the deceased. The Court held that the dying declaration inspired confidence. Taking into account the evidence of the Investigating Officer, the doctor, the Magistrate and considering the sharp nature of injuries sustained by the deceased, the Court held that the guilt of the appellant under Section 302 was proved. Hence, the impugned judgment of the trial court was upheld and the appeal was dismissed. [Dijan Mandal v. State of Bihar, 2018 SCC OnLine Jhar 417, decided on 19-4-2018]

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