A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court raising the issue of whether video and voice notes can be treated as dying declarations or not and challenging the Rajasthan High Court which refused a plea seeking a court-monitored investigation or CBI probe in alleged honour killing case.
The petition has been moved by Uma Paliwal through advocates Utkarsh Singh and Sureshan P.
The petitioner has challenged the Rajasthan High Court order dated April 19, 2023, wherein directions for court-monitored re-investigation or investigation by CBI were sought in the alleged honour killing case.
On May 27, 2022, a case was registered at Jhallara in Udaipur district under various charges dealing with murder, destruction of evidence and criminal conspiracy.
The issue contended before the High Court was that the victim sent audio notes and a video to the petitioner apprehending that she will be killed for marrying out of her choice. The victim girl had sent voice notes apprehending her murder to one of the senior staff Uma Paliwal of the organization, the petition said.
The victim was a worker of Vishakha, an NGO working on a spectrum of issues relating to violence against women.
According to the petition, the victim on May 10, 2022, was brutally assaulted by her family members inside the institute Vishakha where she was working and thereafter she made a video of a Dying Declaration that “she will be killed today.”
“On May 11, 2022, she made a phone call at 8.30 am saying that she’ll be coming to Vishakha Institute where she was working but at 9.00 am she was found dead. After two hours her body was cremated without informing police and without conducting postmortem,” the petitioner said.
The investigating authorities completed the entire investigation in 26 days and have arrayed only the mother of the victim as an accused while filling out the charge sheet only under Section 306 IPC, the petitioner pointed out and further submitted the investigating authorities failed to carry out a credible investigation and has behaved in absolute partisan manner.
The petitioner now raised various questions in his plea including whether the video recorded by the victim after the assault takes place can be considered a dying declaration or not.
According to the petition, the chargesheet fails to explain the cause of death and the haste by the family members in disposing of the body of the victim without informing the police.
The family members did not even make a single attempt to call a medical practitioner for resuscitation of the victim or to even get her declares dead.
“The police has ignored the version stated by the victim stating apprehension of her death and has conveniently believed the version of the family members and other witnesses while making a mockery of the dying declaration and relegating it as a hyperbole,” the petition said.
The petitioner raised the question of whether the investigating officer in its reply considered the dying declaration as a hyperbole justified.
Whether after the assault has taken place on the victim, the dying declaration can only be recorded by a Police Officer/Doctor/Magistrate as stated by Investigating Officer, the petitioner raised the issue.