The Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Pradeep Bisoi V/s State of Odisha[i] reiterated that the statement of injured person recorded under section 161 of Code of Criminal Procedure recorded by police officer can be treated to be as dying declaration under Section 32 of Indian Evidence Act in case of his death.
The present judgment was delivered in appeal against the judgment of Odisha High Court dismissing the appeal filed by appellant, challenging his conviction and sentence of five years of rigorous imprisonment before High Court.
The Division Bench of Supreme Court constituting of Hon’ble Justice A.K. Sikri and Hon’ble Justice Ashok Bhushan referred on the judgment of Sri Bhagwan V/s State of U.P[ii] para23rd of which held that:
“Going by Section 32(1) of the Evidence Act, it is quite clear that such statement would be relevant even if the person who made the statement was or was not at the time when he made it was under the expectation of death. Having regard to the extraordinary credence attached to such statement falling under Section 32(1) of the Evidence Act, time and again this Court has cautioned as to the extreme care and caution to be taken while relying upon such evidence recorded as a dying declaration”
In the same judgment it was further stated in 24th Para that:
“As far as the implication of Section 162(2) Criminal Procedure Code is concerned, as a proposition of law, unlike the excepted circumstances under which Section 161 Criminal Procedure Code statement could be re-lied upon, as rightly contended by the learned Senior Counsel for the respondent,once the said statement though recorded under Section 161 CrPC assumes the character of dying declaration falling within the four corners of Section 32(1)of the Evidence Act, then whatever credence that would apply to a declaration governed by Section 32(1) should automatically deemed to apply in all force to such a statement though was once recorded under Section 161 CrPC. The above statement of law would result in a position that a purported recorded statement under Section 161 of a victim having regard to the subsequent event of the death of the person making the statement who was a victim would enable the prosecuting authority to rely upon the said statement having regard to the nature and content of the said statement as one of dying declaration as deeming it and falling under Section 32(1) of Evidence Act and thereby commend all the credence that would be applicable to a dying declaration recorded and claimed as such.”
Lastly,Hon’ble Supreme Court observed that:
“We have noticed that this Court has laid down that statement under Section 161 Cr.P.C., which is covered under Section 32(1) is relevant and admissible. Thus, we do not find any error in the judgment of the trial court as well as of the High Court in relying on the statement of the injured recorded by the I.O.”
Thus, while upholding to the decision of Trial Court, the Apex Court said that there was no error made by Trial Court in admitting the statement of deceased as dying declaration because the statement described his cause of death. Therefore, the Trial Court was right in convicting the appellant and sentencing him with imprisonment of five years. Hence, it still holds a good law by referring the earlier ration in this matter.
[i] Criminal Appeal No.1192 of 2018