DB upheld life-imprisonment of a husband killing wife

Jammu Tawi, April 21
In a criminal appeal filed against the judgment of Trial Court whereby Trial Court awarded life-imprisonment to Shalinder Singh for murdering his wife. A Division Bench of State High Court Comprising Chief Justice Baddar Durez Ahmed and Justice Alok Aradhe of J&K High Court Jammu Wing after hearing Adv Anmol Sharma appearing for the accused whereas Sr. AAG Seema Shekhar appearing for the state observed that a dying declaration can form the sole basis of conviction and upheld the life-imprisonment.
According to the police case that deceased was married to the appellant one year ago and the appellant used to work as a Cleaner outside. He came home on February 2, 2001 and was told by his mother that the deceased has illicit relation with Mohinder Singh, namely, her brother-in-law. Thereupon, the appellant poured kerosene oil on the deceased and set her on fire. Division Bench after hearing both the sides observed that It is also pertinent to note that even though deceased had suffered burn injuries to the extent of 60% to 85% yet the accused persons did not bring her to Hospital for treatment despite advise given by the Medical Assistant and instead tried to conceal the fact that deceased had suffered burn injuries as co-accused told the Medical Assistant that a ‘small girl’ received injuries who needs treatment and brought medicines for her. It is no doubt that the prosecution has to prove its case against the accused yet the fact remains that even though the appellant had taken the plea of alibi yet no evidence was adduced by them and the appellant did not enter the witness box to prove the plea taken by him.
Division Bench further observed that so far as the submission made on behalf of the appellant that the testimony of Bimla Devi, prosecution witness is full of contradictions and omissions is concerned, the same is of no assistance to the appellant as the conviction of the appellant is based on the dying declaration of the deceased. Similarly, the contention that statement contained in the dying declaration that Shankari Devi was consuming liquor along with her son, son-in-law and daughter deserves to be stated to be rejected as in the dying declaration the deceased had not said so. Similarly, the fact that the deceased was not found pregnant as stated by her in the dying declaration has no impact on the veracity of the dying declaration. It is trite law that it is not necessary that dying declaration should be recorded in the same language which the deceased spoke or understood especially when the contents of dying declaration were explained to her. Therefore, even assuming that the deceased did not understand Urdu language and the dying declaration was recorded in Urdu is of no assistance to the appellant, in view of the fact that contents of her statement were explained to the deceased. The discrepancies in the evidence of prosecution witnesses were mere aberrations or omissions, which have occurred due to efflux of time and which have no impact on the veracity of the dying declaration. With these observations Division Bench dismissed the appeal and upheld the life-imprisonment awarded by the Trial Court. JNF

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