No conviction if dying declaration doubtful: SC
"Conviction can be recorded on the basis of dying declaration alone, but the same must be wholly reliable," the Bench said.india Updated: Mar 05, 2006 10:32 IST
The Supreme Court has ruled that an accused cannot be convicted if there is any doubt over the correctness of a dying declaration.
A Division Bench comprising Justice SB Sinha and Justice PP Naolekar observed that suspicion is no substitute for proof, and that courts should look for some corroborative evidence before convicting an accused on the basis of it.
"Conviction can be recorded on the basis of dying declaration alone, but the same must be wholly reliable," the Benchsaid.
They said that "if evidence brought on records suggests that such dying declaration does not reveal the entire truth, it may be considered only as a piece of evidence in which event conviction may not be rested on the basis thereof."
The validity of a dying declaration would depend upon several factors - physical and mental condition of the deceased was one of them, the Bench added.
The Bench reversed a Madras High Court order which upheld the conviction of one P Mani for killing his estranged wife by setting her on fire in Kanyakumari District of Tamil Nadu in October 1998 on the ground that the dying declaration of the deceased was not reliable.
"In this case the circumstances which have been brought on records clearly point out that the dying declaration may not be correct," the Bench said.
"If the deceased had been nurturing a grudge against her husband for a long time, then she may have committed suicide and put the blame on herhusband to makehis life miserable," the Bench noted.