CRA No. 757 of 2003. Case: Mamta Verma Vs State of Chhattisgarh. Chhattisgarh High Court

Case NumberCRA No. 757 of 2003
CounselFor Appellant: Manoj Paranjape, Vaibhav A. Goverdhan and Prasoon Agrawal, Advocates and For Respondents: Rajendra Tripathi, Panel Lawyer
JudgesPrashant Kumar Mishra and Anil Kumar Shukla, JJ.
IssueCode of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (CrPC) - Section 161; Indian Evidence Act, 1872 - Section 32; Indian Penal Code 1860, (IPC) - Section 302
Judgement DateMarch 07, 2017
CourtChhattisgarh High Court


Prashant Kumar Mishra, J.

  1. The appellant has been convicted under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (for short 'the IPC') and sentenced to undergo imprisonment for life for committing murder of Deepa Bachhani (since deceased) by setting her on fire at about 9.30 am on 26-4-2001.

  2. Briefly stated, the facts are as follows:

    The deceased and her husband were residing in the first floor of the house belonging to one Kundanmal, whereas the appellant's family reside in the ground floor of the same building. The deceased was alone in her house on 26-4-2001. The appellant made allegation on the deceased that she has committed theft of her ear rings and, thereafter, quarrel broke out between the appellant and the deceased. After some time, the appellant reached the first floor, sought kerosene oil from the deceased herself, thereafter, poured the kerosene oil on the body of the deceased and set her on fire by igniting matchstick, which she had brought with herself. Deceased climbed down in burning condition to open the water tap. Some persons saw the deceased, but no effort was made to save her. At the time of incident, the husband of the deceased had gone to the market for bringing vegetables. After his return, he took the deceased to the Mission Hospital, Dhamtari, wherefrom information was sent to the concerned police.

  3. In course of investigation, dying declaration of the deceased was recorded by Jugal Kishore (PW-13), the Executive Magistrate/Naib Tahsildar at about 7.45 am on the date of incident itself. The deceased succumbed to the injuries on the next day i.e. 27-4-2001.

  4. Based on the dying declaration of the deceased and the case diary statements of other witnesses, the police filed the charge sheet and examined several witnesses namely; Naresh Kumar (PW-1), Brijlal (PW-2), Kundanmal (PW-3), Smt. Indira Devi (PW-4), Smt. Sunita Juri (PW-5), Ajay Panjwani (PW-6), Harvansh Sahu (PW-7), Santosh Sahu (PW-8), Dadu Ram (PW-9), Sadhu Ram Yadav (PW-10), Anup Bara (PW-11), Dwarika Prasad (PW-12), Jugal Kishore (PW-13), Somnath Singh (PW-14), Ashok Kumar (PW-15), Mangal Prasad (PW-16), Guniram (PW-17), Dr. Madan Lal Jain (PW-18), Mohd. Akhtar Nurani (PW-19), Omprakash Verma (PW-20), Dr. Arvind (PW-21), Sharad Singh Thakur (PW-22) & Santosh Singh (PW-23).

  5. After completion of trial, the trial Judge has convicted the appellant, as stated supra, by placing reliance on the dying declaration of the deceased.

  6. Shri Manoj Paranjape, learned counsel appearing for the appellant, would argue that the dying declaration is not reliable because there is no fitness certificate given by any doctor certifying that the deceased was in fit mental state to record her dying declaration. Shri Paranjape would further argue that the conviction is not permissible only on the basis of dying declaration. To buttress his contention, learned counsel would place reliance upon the decisions rendered by the Supreme Court in Paparambaka Rosamma and Others v. State of A.P. (1999) 7 SCC 695, Ramilaben Hasmukhbhai Khristi v. State of Gujarat (2002) 7 SCC 56, Uka Ram v. State of Rajasthan (2001) 5 SCC 254 and Javed Masood and Another v. State of Rajasthan (2010) 3 SCC 538 and the decision of this Court rendered in Abdul Rasid; Jahida Begum v. State of Chhattisgarh 1.

  7. Per contra, Shri Rajendra Tripathi, learned counsel appearing for the State, would support the impugned conviction on submission that there is no legal requirement of issuance of fitness certificate by Doctor before recording the dying declaration. Shri Tripathi would further submit that if on the overall analysis of evidence the Court reaches to the conclusion that the dying declaration appears to be uninfluenced by any extraneous consideration or it inspire confidence, the same can by relied upon for sustaining the conviction.

  8. We have heard learned counsel appearing for the parties at length and perused the original record.

  9. Before considering the issue concerning reliability of the dying declaration, we would like to summarise the oral evidence adduced by the prosecution in course of trial.

  10. Naresh Kumar (PW-1) is the husband of the deceased. He was not available in the house at the time of incident. In his examination-in-chief he would state that since he was shocked and not in proper mental state; the deceased did not disclose anything to him although he confirms the recording of dying declaration by the Tahsildar and in the same breath he says that at that time he was kept out of the room. This witness has been declared hostile, as he has resiled from his case diary statement, however, he supports the prosecution to say that the Tahsildar had recorded the dying declaration.

  11. Brijlal (PW-2) is a relative of the deceased. He reached to the place of occurrence when the deceased had already claimed down to open the water tap. This witness had seen the deceased lying below the water tap. He would further say that on enquiry the deceased informed him that 'Doctorin Bai', to mean the appellant, who is wife of a Doctor, has set her on fire. Kundanmal (PW-3) is the common landlord of the appellant and the deceased. He has not thrown...

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