A dying declaration is a concept in the Indian evidence. At the time of the commission of any offense, there are two parties one is the victim and the other is the accused and the dying declaration is related to the punishment of the accused because at the time of the death the dying declaration is recorded.
WHAT IS A DYING DECLARATION?
Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, deals with the dying declaration. It says,
Cases in which a statement of relevant fact by a person who is dead or cannot be found, etc, is relevant: Statements, written or verbal, of relevant fact made by a person who is dead, of who cannot be found, or who has become incapable of giving evidence, or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which, under the circumstances of the case, appears to the court unreasonable, are themselves relevant fact in the following case:
When it is relevant to cause death,
Or is made to course of business,
Or against the interest of the maker,
Or giving an opinion as to public rights and custom, or matter of general interest
Or relates to the existence of relationships,
Or is made in will or deed relating to family affairs,
Or in document relating to transaction mentioned in the section 13 clause (a) of the same act,
Or is made to several persons, and expresses feelings relevant to matter in question.
The grounds of admission under a dying declaration have been based on two broad rules:
One, the victim being generally the only principal eye witness to the crime,
Second, is the sense of impending death, which creates a sanction equal to the obligation of an oath.
In the case of Ram Bihari Yadav v. State of Bihar (1998), Hon’ble Justice Syed Shah Quadri said, “Dying declaration is substantive evidence and like any other substantive evidence requires no corroboration for forming the basis of conviction of an accused”.
A dying declaration is based on the legal maxim “Nemo Moriturus Praesumitur Mentire” i.e. a man will not meet his Maker with a lie in his mouth.
In other words, when the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death or as to any circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, being relevant fact, is admissible in evidence. Such statements are commonly known as dying declarations.
TYPES OF DYING DECLARATIONS:
There is not any particular form of dying declaration but can divide into the types:
Oral or written,
Gestures and signs,
In question and answer form.
Let’s discuss these types in the elaborative form:
- Oral or written: In this type of dying declaration the deceased, can explain the things orally like telling the name of the accused or the situation or the exact things which happen at the same time. In the case of Amar Singh vs the State of Rajasthan, the dying declaration was given by the deceased to her mother and bother as the evidence, that her husband taunt her that she came from the hunger house and want ₹ 10,000. After the statement, on the basis of her declaration by her, the husband is convicted under sections 304B and 498 of IPC.
- Gestures and signs: In this type of dying declaration the deceased, can explain the things through the gestures like what the accused did or by giving the signs.
- Thumb impression: this is another type of giving the dying declaration, like for taking the surety the person gave his or her thumb impression on the sheet.
- In the question and answer form: if the statement is incomplete that for the important fact or evidence can collect by the question related to the incomplete statement and the important things.
REASON FOR ADMITTING THE DYING DECLARATION:
Dying Declaration is admissible only in two circumstances-
A statement of the victim who is dead is admissible in so far as it refers to
-The cause of his death
-Or as to any circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death.
In the case of homicidal deaths, statements made by the deceased are admissible only to the extent of proving the cause and circumstances of his death.
Exception of admissibility of ‘Hearsay Evidence’ –Though a dying declaration is indirect evidence being a specie of hearsay, it is an exception to the rule against admissibility of hearsay evidence.
In the case of Uka ram v. the state of Rajasthan, the court said, at the time when the person is on their death bed, no hope regarding live alive in the world, at that particular time it is presumed that the person can’t lie.
EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF DYING DECLARATION AND MULTIPLE DYING DECLARATIONS:
In the case of Ashabai Vs. state of Maharashtra, the court said, if there are multiple dying declarations that are different on other points then that doesn’t mean that the statement will not acceptable in the eye of the law if the statement is not contrary to each other that statement will consider valid and cannot reject of the basis of certain variables.
In the other case of Sudhakar V state of Madhya Pradesh, SC held that the dying declaration is the last statement which is made by the person on their last time, and it excepted that at that time the person will not lie, will say only truth, once the statement has been made voluntarily, the court has to admit that statement.
EXCEPTION OF DYING DECLARATION:
There are some exceptions when the statement is not admissible by the court:
If the cause of death is not in the main questions: when the deceased gave any statement which is not related to the cause of death, that statement is not admissible in the court.
If the statement is not given by the competent person: if the person is not competent like that person is not in her or his conscious state of mind, not fit form his mental fitness or the state of an infant child is also no admissible by the court of law
If it is found that the statement of the deceased person is not true then that statement of not acceptable by the court.
IF THE PERSON IS ALIVE AFTER GIVING THE DYING DECLARATION:
If the person is alive after giving the dying declaration that in this specific case that statement will remain but the person will not become the witness of that case and can narrate the whole fact of that particular situation and then the whole scenario will change.
In the whole concept of dying declaration on of the main thing that the person who is counting the last breath of his or her life cannot lie and the another most important thing is the doctor’s medical report, in which the whole scenario of that person describes. The specific definition of dying declaration is not provided by the codes but section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872, explains the situation of that statement which is given by the person who is going to die that is mentioned in the medical report.
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