New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) A wife's dying declaration about cruelty meted out to her by her husband is admissible in a trial for a charge under Section 498A of the IPC under the Evidence Act, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
A bench headed by Chief Justice N V Ramana, however, said certain necessary preconditions must be met before the evidence is admitted.
The top court said that the first condition is that her cause of death must come into question in the matter.
"This would include, for instance, matters where along with the charge under Section 498A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) of the IPC, the prosecution has also charged the accused under Sections 302, 306 or 304B of the IPC.
"It must be noted however that as long as the cause of her death has come into question, whether the charge relating to death is proved or not is immaterial with respect to admissibility," the bench said.
The apex court said the second condition is that the prosecution will have to show that the evidence that is sought to be admitted with respect to Section 498A of the IPC must also relate to the circumstances of the transaction of the death.
"How far back the evidence can be, and how connected the evidence is to the cause of death of the deceased would necessarily depend on the facts and circumstances of each case. No specific straitjacket formula or rule can be given with respect to this," it said.
The observations came while hearing an appeal filed by a man challenging a Kerala high court order which acquitted him under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code while confirming his conviction under Section 498A of the IPC.
The apex court noted that the deceased's wife was being harassed is clear from the evidence mother of the deceased.
"“She had specifically stated in her chief examination that within few days of their marriage, the appellant brought the deceased back to her parental home with the threat that if extra dowry was not given, he would leave her and marry another 'beautiful' girl.
"As a result of such harassment, the deceased allegedly attempted suicide for the first time by consuming poison," the bench noted while directing the husband to surrender within a period of one week from before the authorities concerned to serve out the remaining period of sentence.
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