Dying Declaration: An introductory note

This article has been written by Mohini Singla. Mohini is currently a student in Army Institute of Law, Mohali.

The paramount consideration of the Court to decide dying declaration should be to avoid miscarriage of Justice. A Miscarriage of justice which may arise from the acquittal of guilty is no less than from conviction of innocent.[1]

Dying Declaration is based on the maxim ‘nemo mariturus presumuntur mentri’ i.e. a man will not meet his maker with lie on his mouth. The Indian law recognizes the fact that ‘a dying man seldom lies’ or ‘truth sits upon the lips of a dying man.’[2] A Dying Declaration is given special weightage as per Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 as truth sits on the lips of a dying man.[3]

A “Dying Declaration” is a statement, written or oral, of relevant facts made by a person who is dead.[4] The Court attaches intrinsic value of truthfulness to it. The statement, if voluntarily made and established not to be an attempt to cover up the truth, can be made the basis of conviction.[5]

A Dying Declaration made by a person on the verge of his death has a special sanctity as that solemn moment a person is most unlikely to make any untrue statement.[6]

One the main essential for the valid declaration is that the declaration should be given by a person in a fit state of mind, then only that can be taken up as an reliable evidence. Dying Declaration can be oral or written.

In appropriate cases, the satisfaction of the person recording the statement regarding the state of mind of the deceased would also be sufficient to hold that the deceased was in a position to make a statement. It is settled law that if the prosecution solely depends on the Dying Declaration, the normal rule is that the Courts must exercise due care and caution to ensure genuineness of the Dying Declaration. When the Court is satisfied that the Dying Declaration is voluntary, not trained by tutoring or animosity, and is not a product of the imagination of the declarant, in that event, there is no impediment in conviction of the accused on basis of such Dying Declaration.[7]

Even if a declaration is incomplete but it reveals the cause of death of person then even though he wants to speak something else is not important, that is sufficient evidence and has to be taken into account.[8]

[1] Alla Rakha K.Mansurie v. State of Gujrat, Criminal Appeal No. 1285 of 1998.

[2]Kachhwa vs State Of Rajasthan, 1986 CriLJ 306.

Uka Ram v. State of Rajasthan, (2001) 5 SCC 254.

[3]Sukhdev Singh v. State of Delhi,(2010)ILR 2Delhi201.

[4]Sant Gopal v. State of U.P, 1995 CrLJ 312 (SC).

[5]M. Sarvana v. State of Karnataka, (2012) 7 SCC 636.

[6]Narayan Singh v. State of Harayana, AIR 2004 SC 1616.

[7] Supra 10; Ashabai v. State of Maharashtra, (2013) 2 SCC 224.

[8]Muniappanv. State of Madras,AIR 1962 SC 1252.

***

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