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Evidence more important than case laws in criminal matters: SC

india Updated: Feb 11, 2007 13:31 IST

The Supreme Court has held that criminal matters should be decided on their facts and circumstances rather than on the basis of previously decided cases.

"Criminal cases are decided on facts and on evidence rather than on case laws and precedents," a Bench comprising Justice C K Thakker and Justice L S Panta said while upholding the Bombay High Court verdict given in a murder case caused by severe burning.

In this case, the deceased had given two contradictory statements within 24 hours to a magistrate before her death. In the first statement, the deceased said that she had accidently caught fire when she came into contact with a lamp and no one was to be blamed for this.

Changing her stand within 24 hours after her first statement, she accused her mother-in-law for the incident saying she threw the kerosene lamp on her.

The trial court as well as the Bombay High Court relied on her second dying decleration and convicted her mother-in-law.

It was contended by the mother-in-law in the Supreme Court that both the courts committed an error of law by relying upon the second dying decleration which was in contrast with the first one.

The convict also contended that the judgements delivered by the two courts were not right in the light of previous judgement of the apex court which said that it was not safe to act on inconsistent dying declerations.

Dismissing the petition of the convict the Supreme Court held, "Prior to the incident, the appellant (mother-in-law) used to beat and ill-treat her. It is in the light of these acts that other evidences required to be considered".