Thursday, August 8, 2013

Have NO leniency while punishing SIS IN LAW for a woman's death !!! CJI designate : "....2. In spite of stringent legislations in order to curb the deteriorating condition of women across the country, the cases relating to bride burning, cruelty, suicide, sexual harassment, rape, suicide by married women etc. a complete overhaul of the system is a must in the form of deterrent punishment for the offenders so that the problem can be affectively dealt with. [para 18]....."

Have NO leniency while punishing for a woman's death !!! CJI designate : "....2. In spite of stringent legislations in order to curb the deteriorating condition of women across the country, the cases relating to bride burning, cruelty, suicide, sexual harassment, rape, suicide by married women etc. a complete overhaul of the system is a must in the form of deterrent punishment for the offenders so that the problem can be affectively dealt with. [para 18]....."



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This judgment and other similar judgments posted on this blog was / were collected from Judis nic in website and / or other websites of Govt. of India or other internet web sites like worldlii or indiankanoon. Some notes are made by Vinayak. This is a free service provided by Vinayak (pen name). Vinayak is a member of SIF - Save Indian Family Foundation. SIF is committed to fighting FALSE dowry cases and elder abuse. SIF supports gender equality and a fair treatment of law abiding Indian men. Should you find the dictum in this judgment or the judgment itself repealed or amended or would like to make improvements or comments, please post a comment on the comment section of the blog or write to e _ vinayak @ yahoo . com (please remove spaces). Vinayak is NOT a lawyer and nothing in this blog and/or site and/or file should be considered as legal advise.

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CASE FROM SUPREME COURT SITE 
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Date of Judgment : 4-Jan-2013

Case Type : Appeal (crl.)

Case Number : Appeal (crl.) 1062 of 2008

Case Year : 2008

Judge Name : P. SATHASIVAM (J)
RANJAN GOGOI (J)

Petitioner Name : ASHABAI AND ANOTHER

Respondent Name : STATE OF MAHARASHTRA

Reportable : Y

Headnotes : Dismissing the appeal, the Court. 

HELD: 

1.1 The statement made by the deceased by way of a declaration is admissible in evidence u/s 32(1) of the Evidence Act. It is not in dispute that her statement relates to the cause of her death. In that event, it qualifies the criteria mentioned in s. 32(1) of the Evidence Act. There is no particular form or procedure prescribed for recording a dying declaration nor is it required to be recorded only by a Magistrate. As a general rule, it is advisable to get the evidence of the declarant certified from a doctor. In appropriate cases, the satisfaction of the person recording the statement regarding the state of mind of the deceased would also be sufficient to hold that the deceased was in a position to make a statement. [para 12] 

1.2 It is settled law that if the prosecution solely depends on the dying declaration, the normal rule is that the courts must exercise due care and caution to ensure genuineness of the dying declaration, keeping in mind that the accused had no opportunity to test the veracity of the statement of the deceased by cross-examination. The law does not insist upon the corroboration of dying declaration before it can be accepted. The insistence of corroboration to a dying declaration is only a rule of prudence. When the court is satisfied that the dying declaration is voluntary, not tainted by tutoring or animosity, and is not a product of the imagination of the declarant, in that event, there is no impediment in convicting the accused on the basis of such dying declaration. [para 12] 

1.3 When there are multiple dying declarations, each one has to be assessed and evaluated independently on its own merit as to its evidentiary value and one cannot be rejected because of certain variation in the other. [para 12] 

1.4 In the instant case, though, in one of the statement, the deceased implicated two more persons (who were acquitted by the trial Court) she was consistent about the role played by her mother-in-law and her sisters-in- law (the appellants). It is relevant to note that the incident took place in the bedroom of the deceased. It is also clear that she was subjected to torture as she had not conceived a child even after three years of the marriage and in all the four dying declarations, she was conscious in mentioning the role of her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. There is no contradiction as to the main aspect, namely, implicating her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law as well as the role played by them. [para 11] 

1.5 At the time of recording of the statements of the victim, medical officers on duty had certified that she was fully conscious and was in a fit state of mind to make the same. The persons who recorded the four dying declarations were examined and were also cross-examined about the statement made by the deceased and recorded by them. In such circumstances, this Court fully endorses the view expressed by the trial court and affirmed by the High Court about the acceptability of four dying declarations implicating the mother-in-law and sisters-in-law (the appellants). [para 13] 

1.6 As regards oral evidence, PW-1 is the mother of the deceased. She explained about the marriage of her daughter and the strained relationship with her family members including the appellants. PW-2, the elder brother of the deceased, deposed about the torture and ill-treatment meted out to the deceased in her matrimonial home, and the burn injuries sustained by her. He also stated that when he met her in the hospital, she was conscious and disclosed that her mother-in-law and sisters-in-law put her on fire. The analysis of the oral evidence of PWs and medical evidence clearly shows that the deceased was in a fit state of mind to make dying declarations and her statements in those dying declarations are consistent and truthful. There is no infirmity in the order of conviction and sentence recorded by the trial Judge and affirmed by the High Court. [para 14,15 and 17] 

1.7 In view of clinching evidence led in by the prosecution, there cannot be any leniency in favour of the appellants, who are sisters-in-law of the deceased and at whose instance the deceased was burnt at the hands of her mother-in-law. Accordingly, the conviction of the appellants u/ss. 302/34 and 498-A/34 IPC and sentence of life imprisonment awarded by trial court and affirmed by High Court are upheld. [para 18] 

2. In spite of stringent legislations in order to curb the deteriorating condition of women across the country, the cases relating to bride burning, cruelty, suicide, sexual harassment, rape, suicide by married women etc. a complete overhaul of the system is a must in the form of deterrent punishment for the offenders so that the problem can be affectively dealt with. [para 18]






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Father of a lovely daughter, criminal in the eyes of a wife, son of an compassionate elderly mother, old timer who hasn't given up, Male, activist