HC acquits man, rubbishes victim’s dying declaration
The Delhi high court has set aside a lower court judgment awarding 10 years’ rigorous imprisonment to a man in a dowry death case. The court disbelieved the dying declaration of the victim and observed that it was difficult to believe that money would be demanded from the parents of the victim who were rag picker and rickshaw-puller respectively.
The Delhi Police on a complaint by the victim’s parents had charged her husband with subjecting her to cruelty by beating her and demanding Rs 20,000. The investigating agency had also accused him of causing the death of his wife by pouring kerosene over her and setting her on fire. She had received 90 per cent injuries.
Pointing out lacunae in the dying declaration, the court said that “in such circumstances, it would be highly unsafe to place any reliance on the <g data-gr-id="27">so called</g> dying declaration of the deceased.”
The court also dismissed the testimonies of the victim’s parents.
“From the deposition of the victim’s parents it can safely be gathered that both of them come from a very poor strata of the society. Her mother is a rag picker, whereas her father is a rickshaw puller. Their testimonies are replete with inconsistent statements which go to the root of the matter.
Attention was drawn to the statements made by the aforesaid witnesses under Section 161 CRPC PW7 (victim’s mother) has tried to explain away the different stand at the trial by saying that after the death of her daughter, she was not in a fit state of mind to state correctly as to what had happened. It is difficult to believe that money would be demanded from such persons namely PW 7 and PW 8 (victim’s mother and father) who can barely eke out their living,” the Court said rejecting their deposition.
The court also said: “There was no evidence on record to clearly come to the conclusion that the appellant was present in the house when the occurrence had taken place.”
Observing that “how the victim died remains a mystery,” the court said: “This court is inclined to give benefit of doubt to the appellant (victim’s husband) keeping in mind the fact that except for certain bald statements by PW 7 and PW 8, alleging cruelty and harassment prior to the death, there is no other evidence to prove that the victim either committed suicide or was killed at the hands of the appellant. In that view of the matter, the appeal is allowed and the judgment of the trial court is set aside.”
“The appellant married the deceased of his own volition. The story of demand of money and consequent torture is incredible and implausible,” the court also observed.