The principle on which dying declarations are admitted in evidence is indicated within the legal maxim- nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire – a man will not meet his Maker with a lie in his mouth. These are declarations made in extremity on the factors of loss of life and while every hope of this world is long gone, while each cause of falsehood is silenced and the thoughts caused by the maximum effective concerns to speak the truth; a state of affairs so solemn and serene that the law considers it an obligation to simply accept the veracity of the announcement. Dying Declarations have accordingly come to occupy a vital role inside the realm of the law of proof. It’s been solely relied upon for functions of conviction, but through the years, the Indian judiciary has sought to adapt diverse concepts to control the admissibility of dying declarations. The present article analyses the position of law with regard to dying declaration under Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
Indian Evidence Act and Dying Declaration In India
Indian law acknowledges the truth that a dying man seldom lies.’ Or “reality sits upon the lips of a demise man.” Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 discover the idea of dying declaration. Section 32 deals with cases associated with that individual who is dead or who can’t be located. A dying declaration is admissible in evidence even though it has not been made on oath and the person making it is able not to be cross-examined. It is an exception to the rule of Hearsay Evidence. Admissibility of dying declaration as a relevant piece of proof is guided by the precept of necessity and spiritual belief of the olden days.
The necessity being that during instances where the victim is the most effective eyewitness to the crime, the exclusion of his Statement may defeat the ends of justice. The religious sanction at the back of admissibility comes from the notion that a sense of imminent loss of life produces in a person’s thoughts the identical feeling as that of a conscientious and virtuous man under oath. Anyone who makes a Dying Declaration have to, be competent while making such a statement otherwise, it is inadmissible. Recording the Dying Declaration is a very essential challenge. Utmost care is required to be taken at the same time while recording a dying declaration. The law of evidence elaborates on the relevance and admissibility of evidence before the courts. For a statement to be attracted under section 32(1) Indian Evidence Act, it is neither necessary that the death should have a nexus in terms of a fixed time with the statement nor that the victim who made the statement should relate to the circumstances surrounding the event which ultimately led to death.
Procedure to Record Dying Declaration
A Dying Declaration may be oral or in writing. Any method of communication may be adopted, like signs, gestures, a nod or even a look. A declaration should be recorded in victim’s language. It adds authenticity and reliability to the declaration. Now it is well settled that the declaration need no longer be in question-answer form. Even though the statement consists of few sentences and is in the actual word of the makers it would suffice. It is also necessary that the declarant was in a good mental state at the time of recording of declaration.
Certificates from the doctor and statements from him that the declarant is in good condition while making such declaration is very important. However, the absence of such certificates does not in itself negate the validity of the Dying declaration. There’s no precise form or process for recording, nor is it required to be recorded simplest through a Magistrate within the exigencies of scenario, it could be recorded via the medical doctor, police officer, magistrate, or by way of some other individual. One of the ideas formulated by means of the court is that wherein dying declaration is recorded through a competent Magistrate, it would stand on a much higher footing.
But, what evidentiary price or weight must be connected to that statement, must always depend on the statistics and circumstances of every precise case. The Supreme Court has stated that, having regard to the sanctity connected to a dying declaration because it comes from the mouth of a dying person so it has to be within the actual words of the maker of the declaration. Generally, the Dying Declaration has to be recorded in the shape of questions answers but if a dying declaration isn’t elaborative and includes just a few sentences and is within the real words of the maker, the mere truth that it isn’t always in question-answer form cannot be ground against its acceptability or reliability. The mental condition of the maker of the declaration, alertness of thoughts, memory and information of what he is pronouncing, are topics which can be observed by any person.
Evidentiary Value of Dying Declaration
Dying declaration is entitled to exceptional weight. It is able to shape the sole basis for conviction without the want for independent corroboration. A dying declaration is a piece of proof and may be acted upon without corroboration if far discovered to be otherwise genuine and reliable. However, the court has to satisfy itself that the dying declaration is of any such nature as to encourage complete confidence within the court in its correctness.
The courtroom has to be on guard that the statement of the deceased turned into now, not because of tutoring, prompting or a product of imagination. The court had to be further satisfied that the deceased was in a fit state of mind and had a clear and had a clear possibility to take a look at and discover the assailants. Once the courtroom is satisfied that the statement is true and voluntary, absolutely, it could base its conviction without any further corroboration.
Evidentiary value of a dying declaration depend on type of case and its fact. In Sham Shankar Kankaria v. state of Maharashtra Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the situation wherein the individual is on deathbed is so solemn and serene, while he is dying that the grave position in which he’s positioned is the suffice reason in law to simply accept veracity of his declaration. It is because of this the requirements of oath and cross-examination are dispensed with. If dying declaration is excluded it’ll bring about failure of justice due to the fact that the victim is commonly the most effective eyewitness in severe crime, the exclusion of the statement would leave the the court without a scrap of evidence.
In Munnu Raja v. State Of MPFIR recorded by the police has been considered as dying Declaration. However, in State of Punjab v. Kikar Singh, it’s far held that ”while the affected person remained admitted to hospital for sufficient days i.e. for 8 days FIR cannot be treated as dying declaration. In State v. Maregowda it’s held that ”A suicide note written found within the clothes of the deceased is within the nature of dying declaration and is admissible in evidence.”
Multiple Dying Declaration
In Sayarabano Sultana Begum vs. State of Maharashtra, two dying declarations were recorded. As per the first declaration, the deceased had been met with an accident. She was hit by kerosene lamp which fell on her body and caught fire. While recording the second declaration, the judicial magistrate asked her why she changed her declaration. The deceased responded that her mother-in-law had advised her now not to give any statement against family members of her in-laws but, in fact, it was her mother-in-law who threw the kerosene lamp on her, and hence, she burnt. She also said that her mother-in-law was harassing her. In this sort of state of affairs, the court held that the second declaration was authentic and stimulated confidence. Ill-treatment of the deceased was established and absolutely proved on the premise of the evidence of different witnesses.
In Sher Singh vs. State of Punjab, wherein three dying declarations were recorded, the courtroom held that conviction may be based on the third statement which became regular with the second one, whilst the primary one recorded straight away after being admitted to the hospital becomes underneath danger or duress. But, in the State of AP vs. P. Khaja Hussainthe courtroom set aside a conviction as there has been a variant between the two dying declarations and there was no different evidence to attach the accused to the crime. Medical opinion cannot wipe out the direct testimony of the eyewitness stating that the deceased was in fit and conscious state to make the dying declaration was held in Nanhau Ram vs State Of MP.
Recording Of Declaration in Different Languages
In B. Shashikala vs. State of A.P., a question arose concerning the recording of the dying declaration of the victim in Hindi by way of the Magistrate who requested the questions in English with the victim replying in Hindi and the physician acting as a translator between them. It was held in the view that both the Magistrate and the doctor had the working knowledge of Hindi and given that both certified approximately the translation, there has been no opportunity for the victim to make any tutored statement. The declaration was, therefore, held to be rightly admitted and relied upon via the Courts. Further, in Thanu Ram vs. state of MP in which there had been confusions with reference to the fact whether the deceased had spoken in Chattisgarhi or Hindi, although the recording has been carried out in Hindi, the courtroom held that the declaration was in clear and easy language, without any irregularity or ambiguity, and the same will be relied upon for the purposes of conviction.
Exceptions to Dying Declaration
The exceptions to the Dying Declaration stipulate, wherein the statements made by dying person aren’t admissible:
- If the purpose of the death of the deceased isn’t in question: If the deceased made declaration earlier than his death that something except the cause of his, that statement is not admissible in proof.
- If the declarer is not a competent witness: Declarer need to be medically fit. A dying declaration of a child is inadmissible. In Amar Singh v. State of Madhya Pradesh, 1996 Cr LJ (MP) 1582, it is held that without proof of mental or physical fitness, the death statement isn’t always reliable.
- Contradictory statements: If a declarant made more than one declaration and all are contradictory, then all those declarations lose their evidentiary value.
- Unsound Person: The statement of unsound mind cannot be relied upon.
- Inconsistent declaration: Inconsistent death statement has no evidential price.
- If statement pertains to the death of another individual: If the statement made through deceased does not relate to his demise, but to the death of another individual, it is not applicable.
- If death declaration is not in line with prosecution: If declaration is inconsistent with the case of prosecution it isn’t always admissible.
- Influenced declaration: dying declaration should not be influenced.
- Incomplete Declaration: Incomplete declarations are not admissible.
Dying Declaration is one of the most important piece of evidence. It can be the closing and maximum pertinent be had evidence regarding the concern of the commission of a crime. For this reason, the law of Evidence makes it applicable as well as admissible. It’s also important proof towards the accused and a conviction can be based solely on a dying declaration. Given the importance connected to it, the courts have developed numerous ideas to evolve its principles. It’s far critical that the declaration ought to be unfastened from errors, manipulations, and adjustments. It ought to strike to be proper, unfastened from all doubts, mentioning the real story of the maker. If the courtroom entertains any doubt in regards to the same, it is imperative for the court to look at corroborative evidence to check the truthfulness of the dying declaration. If no such proof is found, the court needs to reject the declaration. It is obligation of the court to don’t forget dying declaration in its correct attitude and fulfill itself of its truthfulness before it can proceed to convict an accused.
 Sham Shankar Kankaria v. State of Maharashtra – (2006)
 Munnu Raja V. country Of MP (AIR 1976 2199 (SC)):
 State of Punjab v. Kikar Singh, 2002 (30 RCR (crook) 568 (P&H) (DB),
 State v. Maregowda (2002 (1) RCR (crook) 376 (Karnataka) (DB):
 C.K. Thakker, Lokeshwar Singh Panta, Sayarabano Sultana Begum vs. State of Maharashtra Appeal (Crl.) No.141 of 2006 Date of Judgement 8.2.2007 (2007) 12 SCC 562.
 P.P. Naolekar, Markandey Katju, Sher Singh vs. State of Punjab, Appeal (Crl.) 646 of 2006 Date of Judgement 15/02/2008, AIR 2008 SC 1426.
 State of AP vs. P. Khaja Hussain, Criminal Appeal No.1389 of 2004
 B. Shashikala vs. State of Andhra Pradesh, Appeal (Crl.) 985 of 1997
 Thanu Ram vs. State of Madhya Pradesh, Special Leave Petition (Crl.) 5885 of 2009, Date of Judgement 05.10.2010 (2010) 10 SCC 353.