Supreme Court, while dismissing a high court order, was of the view that corroborative evidence is required even in the case of dying declarations when the deceased’s state of mind is in question.

Wherein a woman had suffered 98% burns on her body and had made a dying declaration holding her husband and mother-in-law responsible, the Supreme Court disagreed with the prosecution’s contention of arresting them. Stating that with the administration of painkillers in addition to having 98% burns, the deceased was not in the right state of mind and could be delusional which casts a doubt and suicide cannot be ruled out as she had taken off all of her marital indicators such as mangalsutra.

Dying declarations ought to be truthful, voluntary and devoid of extraneous influences and in this particular instance, there was a shadow of doubt whether the dying declaration was indeed devoid of extraneous influences.

In this case, the court was of the opinion that:

“In the present case, as we have already held above, there was some doubt as to whether the victim was in a fit state of mind to make the statement. No doubt, the doctor had stated that she was in a fit state of mind but he himself had, in his evidence, admitted that in the case of a victim with 98% burns, the shock may lead to delusion. Furthermore, in our view, the combined effect of the trauma with the administration of painkillers could lead to a case of possible delusion, and therefore, there is a need to look for corroborative evidence in the present case.”

As for corroborative evidence, the neighbors who had come on the scene after the incident who had raised an alarm were never examined by the prosecution which could have led to corroborative evidence for the dying declaration. The Prosecution was thus unable to prove without a reasonable doubt and the husband and mother-in-law were acquitted by the Supreme Court.

Click here to view judgement