Atbir vs Govt. of N.C.T of Delhi (2010)
Author : Sreelakshmi M A
CITATION: Crl Appeal NO. 870/2006
BENCH: P. Sathasivam, B.S. Chauhan
This is a murder appeal case where the appellants were found guilty for the murder of 3 persons of the same house. The Additional Sessions Judge convicted the accused appellants, one with death penalty and other with life imprisonment. The high court also confirmed the decision of Sessions court. The main evidence that proved the case of prosecution was the dying declaration of one of the deceased. This was one of the main questions to be decided by the judge in this appeal.
FACTS OF THE CASE
The story of the prosecution as per the dying declaration of deceased goes like this.
One of the appellant –Atbir is the son of jaswant Singh and chandravati. They had 3 children. Later, this jaswant Singh married the deceased-Sheela Devi and 2 children (deceased) were born to them. They were staying at mughargee nagar, Delhi. Some property disputes were there in their family.
One day the appellants Atbir, his mother, Asok and another person came to the home were deceased were staying and asked Sheela Devi the deceased for some money. When she refused to give the asked money, the accused persons bolted the doors from inside and Atbir took out a knife and stabbed Manish (deceased). Thereafter, Atbir stabbed Sheela Devi (deceased) and then Savita-deceased with knife. Both Manish and Sheela Devi died at the spot. Savita was taken to the hospital and soon after the dying declaration was taken, she also died.
The mother of first accused Chandravati who was also present there during the crime was absconded.
ISSUES AND FACTS OF LAW
Whether the dying declaration of deceased made before the police officer is sufficient to convict the accused with capital punishment?
Whether this appeal is maintainable?
Here, in this case conviction under Section 302 was based solely on the dying declaration made by Savita- deceased and recorded by Investigating Officer in the presence of a Doctor. The court for the purpose of deciding this issue, went through many its own decisions which discussed the about while recording dying declaration, factors such as mental condition of the maker, alertness of mind and memory, etc. have to be taken into account.
It was also found that merely because the dying declaration was not recorded by the magistrate it cannot be a ground to reject the whole prosecution case. It was also found that Dying declaration can be the sole basis of conviction if it inspires the full confidence of the Court.
But when comes to death penalty, the Constitution Bench of the same court in Bachan Singh v. State of Punjab ruled that life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence an exception. It has also noted that Aggravating as well as Mitigating Circumstances to be considered for imposition of sentence of death. So to check whether in this case there is any such exceptional situation was a task for the court.
From the evidences and statements of the father of accused, it was found that there was a property issue between the sons and this made the motive for the crime. All the three murders committed by Atbir was found extremely brutal and diabolical one. The cold blooded murder is committed with deliberate design in order to inherit the entire property of Jaswant Singh without waiting for his death. From this it was evident that the appellants were well planned and prepared for the brutal act.
The court had confirmed the conviction and sentence of death imposed on Atbir and also confirmed the conviction and sentence of life imprisonment imposed on Ashok.