17 June 2024


Supreme Court

Pankaj v. State of Rajasthan




When a dying declaration is suspicious, it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence

A charge sheet was filed against accused persons under Sections 302, 452 and 34 of Indian Penal Code and under Section 3 read with Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959 and case was committed before Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge. Learned ADJ, by judgment and order dated 03.08.2002, acquitted all the accused persons Under Section 452 of the Indian Penal Code and convicted the Appellant herein Under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code and sentenced him to imprisonment for life. The Appellant herein was further sentenced to rigorous imprisonment (RI) for 2 (two) years Under Section 3 read with Section 25 of the Arms Act, 1959. In instant case, Appellant-accused is aggrieved by order of conviction and sentence, passed by High Court dismissing appeal filed by Appellant herein while exonerating other accused persons of all charges.

When a dying declaration is suspicious, it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence. In a case where death is due to injuries or wounds caused by a lethal weapon, it is always duty of prosecution to prove by expert evidence that, it was likely or at least possible for injuries to have been caused with the weapon with which and in manner in which they are alleged to have been caused. In case on hand, contradiction, i.e., distance of fire, is material and Supreme Court opined that, it would not be appropriate to convict Appellant-accused by ignoring such an important aspect.

There is no material on record to connect that, gunshot injury suffered by deceased was due to shot fired from firearm of Appellant-accused. It is also discernible that, though bullet was recovered but same has not been connected with weapon. Moreover, prosecution is not able to prove motive clearly. Though motive is not sine qua non for conviction of Appellant-accused, effect of not proving motive raises a suspicion in the mind. In present case, it appears that, theory behind motive has been given after much thought process.

It is a well-settled principle of law that, when genesis and manner of incident is doubtful, accused cannot be convicted. As prosecution has failed to establish circumstances in which Appellant was alleged to have fired at the deceased, entire story deserves to be rejected. When evidence produced by prosecution has neither quality nor credibility, it would be unsafe to rest conviction upon such evidence. Evidence on record in case is not sufficient to bring home guilt of Appellant. In such circumstances, Appellant is entitled to benefit of doubt.

Tags : Conviction Evidence Credibility

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