The court of district and sessions judge Sukhwinder Kaur has acquitted two people of murder charge levelled against them on the basis of the 'dying declaration' of a woman. A judicial magistrate first class (JMIC) had himself recorded the statement of the woman and had deposed as a witness against the accused.
Amandeep Kaur was married to Barinder Singh. In July 2013, Barinder's mother Kulwinder Kaur and maternal grandfather Dhanna Singh were booked on charges of alleged murder of Amandeep. An FIR under sections 302 (murder), 304-B (dowry death) and 498-A (subjecting married woman to cruelty) of the Indian Penal Code was registered at Shaina police station against the accused.
At the time of death, Amandeep was admitted to Dayanand Medical College and Hospital, Ludhiana, (DMCH). JMIC Rahul Kumar had recorded her statement by visiting the DMCH, on the basis of which the accused were booked on murder charge.
Sub-inspector (SI) Kamaljit Singh had also recorded the statement of Amandeep on the same day. SI Kamaljit had also appeared as a witness in the court.
Rajdev Singh Khalsa, advocate for the accused, pleaded the case and argued that the 'dying declaration' cannot form the sole basis of conviction unless it is corroborated with relevant evidence against the accused.
"The dying declaration cannot be read divorced from the circumstances of the case. Dying declaration is clearly a tutored statement and the same was falsely made at the instance of enemies of the accused," he added.
"A dying declaration is based on the maxim 'Nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire', that means 'a man will not meet his maker with a lie in his mouth'. It operates as an exception to the hearsay rule. But before it is relied on, it must pass a test of reliability as it is a statement made in the absence of the accused and there is no opportunity to the accused even to put it through cross-examination to test its genuineness or veracity," Khalsa said.
Khalsa added Amandeep's minor husband Barinder Singh was also booked whose case was pending before the juvenile court.