[S.498A IPC] Contradictory Dying Declarations Containing Consistent Statements About Abuse Can Be Taken Into Account: Telangana High Court

Update: 2022-12-02 05:00 GMT

Image By: Srinivas Bellam

In a recent decision, the Telangana High Court upheld the conviction of a husband under section 498A of Indian Penal Code despite there being contradictions in the dying declarations as there were consistent statements about abuse and cruelty committed on the wife in all the dying declarations.

"Both these statements are consistent with regard to the quarrel ensued between the deceased and A1 and that he came in drunken condition, abused her and came upon to beat her. Unable to bear the same, she poured kerosene oil from the stove on her body and set herself ablaze, which is sufficient to attract the ingredients of Section 498-A IPC. Even after removing the exaggerations, the statement of the deceased in Exs.P4 and P11 is consistent with regard to the harassment and cruelty met by her in the hands of A1 which drove her to commit suicide. As such, this Court does not find any illegality or impropriety in the judgment of the trial court in coming to the conclusion about the guilt of the Accused No.1 for the offence under Section 498-A IPC."

The appellant herein is accused for burning his wife to death by pouring kerosene on her. The accused was held guilty of cruelty against his wife under Section 498A by the Metropolitan Sessions Judge, Secunderabad and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 1 year and fine of rupees 1000. The appeal was filed against the decision of the trial court.

The wife of the accused/appellant was admitted to the hospital with fatal burn injuries. She had sustained 40% burn injuries. While undergoing treatment, the wife died and the autopsy confirmed that the cause of death was "shock due to burns". Before her death, the wife had given four dying declarations stating the cause of her death.

The appellant contended that the trial court had not considered the conflicting nature of the four dying declarations given by the deceased, each one was an improvement over the other and as consequence the benefit of doubt should be given to the accused.

The deceased had claimed in the first two dying declarations that she poured kerosene on herself and lit fire due to abusive, vulgar and harsh comments used by the accused. But in the later dying declarations, the deceased stated that the accused had poured kerosene and lit fire to her and used to harass her for dowry.

Issue : Whether the conviction of accused for the offence under Section 498A IPC can be set aside due to inconsistencies in dying declarations?

Ruling of the court

Upon analysis of evidence on record, Dr. Justice G. Radha Rani observed that though the subsequent declarations were improvements of each other, one statement was consistent that the accused used to beat the victim after drinking and constantly demand dowry using vulgar and abusive language. Thus, the offence of Section 498A of IPC would be attracted due to consistent statement about harassment and cruelty by husband driving the deceased to commit suicide.

"The presence of A1 was mentioned in the earlier statements made by the declarant and though there were developments in the subsequent statements, the deceased was specific in both Exs.P4 and P11 that A1 tried to beat her and used most vulgar language against her and the conduct of A1 in abusing the deceased would attract the provisions of Section 498-A IPC which would amount to cruelty defined in the Section driving the deceased to commit suicide"

The High Court did not find any irregularity in the trial court's findings and the criminal appeal was dismissed.


Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Tel) 96 

Click Here To Read/Download Judgment


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