Jayamma & Anr. vs. State of Karnataka - Synopsis
Deyasini Das 14 Jul 2021

The order of Karnataka HC was challenged in the Supreme Court through an appeal. Karnataka HC had set aside the trial court’s order and convicted the appellants under Section 302, read with Section 34 of IPC. In the instant case, there was a fight between the deceased and Appellant no. 1  in which the husband of Appellant no. 1 got injured and assaulted by the son of deceased. Later, the appellant demanded Rs 4000 as medical expense, and drenched the deceased with kerosene and set her on fire. The deceased was then taken to the hospital by the witness and a complaint was filed under Sections  504, 307, 114 read with section 34 of IPC. After the investigation, requests were made on behalf of the police to alter the charges under Section 307 r/w section 34 IPC to Section 302 r/w section 34 IPC. The final charges were framed under Section 504, 302, 114 r/w section 34 of IPC and the Additional Sessions, Judge committed the case. The Appellants pleaded not to be guilty of these charges but could not provide evidence for the same. This decision further, was reversed by the High Court and it held that dying declaration was completely sufficient to prove a person guilty. Finally, appellants approached the Apex Court challenging the same. There were two arising issues, first being, whether the court made a mistake while exercising its power under Section 378 of CrPC. Second being, whether the prosecution was successful in establishing the death of the deceased to be homicidal and by the appellant.  

The Supreme Court stated that if the declaration by a dying person had been recorded in accordance with law and it gave a persuasive and reasonable explanation, the court would accept is as the only piece of evidence. Section 32 of the Evidence Act, occurs to make the deceased’s statements admissible in court of law. Further in the present case, the court had to test if the statement made by the victim was true in nature and could be undertaken as the solitary reason for appellant’s conviction. The court stated that it was not right to charge the appellants only on the basis of the deceased’s statement, since he was aged, illiterate and not in a condition to put out statement with 80% burns. As, there were conflicts between declarations given by the police and the witness of the prosecution, not a single evidence could verify the truth. 

Therefore the court held that, the power of the High Court under section 378 CrPC should not be invoked routinely where the trial Court’s view was only a possible view. Only where there is a complete misreading of material evidence leading to miscarriage of justice the High Court can intervene. The self-restraint doctrine does not decrease the powers of the High court on re-appreciating evidence or an appeal against acquittal.” The court allowed both the appeals. 







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