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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thane Mental hospital lines up occupational therapy, coffee helps beat the blues, dying declaration not always reliable,

Thane mental hospital lines up occupational therapy Published: Wednesday, Sep 28, 2011, 8:00 IST By Santosh Andhale | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA The Thane Mental Hospital is setting up a special occupational therapy project where patients who complete treatment will be trained to make agarbattis to be sold under a special brand: Manas Agarbatti. Hospital authorities feel such a move will keep those who have completed psychiatric treatment engaged throughout the year instead of making seasonal items like greeting cards and lamps. Apart from agarbattis, patients will also be trained to make eco-friendly Ganeshas, demand for which has risen since last year. According to senior doctors, most patients who spend two-three months in treatment return home with no job prospects. To help them regain confidence, such vocational training becomes significant. “For this project, we will set up a centre with 25 people. A bus will pick up and drop them from the hospital to railway stations and bus stops. An agarbatti brand is ready to offer training on making and marketing the agarbattis,” said Dr Kumvat. He added that the Annirudha Bapu Trust is ready to offer lessons on making eco-friendly Ganesh idols. Another firm is ready to award a contract to the hospital for making paper plates. The centre is expected to start operations during the Mental Health Week from October 3 to 10. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Coffee helps beat the blues -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 'Dying words can't convict hubby of killing' (10 Views) The Times of India - ‎ Tue Sep 27, 2011 MUMBAI: A is not enough to a man who is in the dock for setting ablaze his wife, the has ruled. A division bench of Justice D B Bhosale and Justice M L Tahilyani acquitted Pune resident Ashok Kamble giving him the benefit of the doubt, as his wife's four dying declarations did not convince them. Last words not always the last word A Supreme Court judgment has raised questions about convicting an accused on the basis of a dying declaration. Saheli Mitra reports Mahila Raj Kunwar was beaten and driven out of her house by her husband Babulal. Years later, she got married to Chattar Singh, but her happiness was short-lived. Babulal tried to murder Singh with the help of hired goons. Singh gave a dying declaration to the police on the basis of which a first information report (FIR) was lodged against Babulal and his associates. And the apex court convicted the accused in 2004 on the basis of Singh’s dying statement. That was then. In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court held that “where there is inconsistency in a dying declaration, and where sufficient corroborative evidence is absent, conviction of accused cannot be made on the basis of the dying declaration”. So, are dying declarations no longer relied upon by the court of law to bring charges against the accused? “Dying declarations have long been a tool to prosecute, at times the sole means of prosecution. Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act says a dying declaration can form the sole basis of conviction, provided such declarations are voluntary and not tutored,” observes Ahindra Kumar Auddy, senior lawyer, Calcutta High Court. “But due care and caution must be exercised in considering how much weight the court will give to a dying declaration and also the circumstances under which it was made,” he adds. In the recent judgment in the case of Nallapati Sivaiah vs Sub-divisional officer, Guntur, AP, Justice R.V. Raveendran and Justice B. Sudershan Reddy of the Supreme Court held that it was “unsafe” to convict a person on the basis of a dying declaration when suspicion has been raised about the “correctness” of the statement. In this case, the deceased had sustained 63 injuries and it was argued that it was impossible for such a person to give a dying declaration. Even the chief medical officer, under whose supervision the statement was made, was not questioned as a witness. So there was no proof whether the doctor had deemed the patient physically fit to give a declaration to the police. Criminal lawyer Alok Kumar Mitra recalls cases where the investigating authorities tutor the dying person to nail certain people or even ask him not to speak against the accused. “There have been instances where the police have forcefully extracted dying declarations from someone for their vested interests. In such cases the court has to look for some corroborative evidence by treating a dying declaration only as one piece of evidence. And, definitely, the court always has to be on guard to see that such statements are not the result of tutoring or prompting, or a product of someone’s imagination,” he says. Then why do courts appreciate such evidence? Why is it a settled principle of law that a dying declaration is substantive evidence and an order of conviction can be safely recorded? The law of the land lays down that “any sanction of the oath in the case of a living witness is thought to be balanced at least by the final conscience of the dying man. Nobody would wish to die with a lie on his lips”. The law says that a person who “stands before his creator” would be the last one to lie. The observation has been quoted in the recent judgment by Supreme Court judges R.V. Raveendran and B.Sudershan Reddy in the case mentioned earlier. The judges have also mentioned there is a legal maxim Nemo Morfturous Praesumitur Mentire, meaning that a man will not meet his maker with a lie on his lips. “Even dying declarations recorded before a magistrate are governed by certain safeguards,” points out Amiya Chakraborty, member of the Supreme Court Bar association. “The magistrate must ensure that the declarant is in a proper mental state. He must consult a doctor about the fitness of the man,” adds Chakraborty. However, it will depend on the court what value it gives to a dying declaration. It has to assess the circumstances, including the weapon with which the victim was injured, the nature and extent of injuries, the victim’s physical and mental condition, and also if the declaration suffers from any serious contradictions or flaws. Not every dying statement, clearly, can be a declaration. Burning facts • There is neither rule of law nor of prudence that dying declaration cannot be acted upon without corroboration. If the court is satisfied that the dying declaration is true and voluntary it can base a conviction on it, without corroboration. • The court has to scrutinise the declaration carefully and must ensure that the deceased had the opportunity to observe and identify the assailants and was in a fit state to make the declaration. • If a dying declaration is suspicious it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence. • In cases where the deceased was unconscious or was not in a position to make a dying declaration, the evidence with regard to it is to be rejected. • A dying declaration which suffers from flaws cannot form the basis of conviction. • A dying declaration cannot be rejected just because it does not contain details. • It cannot be discarded merely because it is a brief statement. • Normally the court in order to satisfy whether the deceased was in a fit mental condition seeks medical opinion. But if an eyewitness has said that the deceased was in a fit and conscious state to make this dying declaration, the medical opinion cannot prevail. • Where the prosecution version differs from the version given in the dying declaration, the said declaration cannot be acted upon. Top Email This Page Print This Page ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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