The concept of the Dying Declaration has been existent and prevalent in the due process of law since the antiquity of time. Dying Declarations run on the concept that it is a statement which is made by a party who is on the verge of dying or a statement made before the death of a person. Dying Declaration is supposedly a piece of evidence made by a specific party before he/she encounters the process of death. It is supposed that a man who is going to die wouldn’t commit an act of lying because he is going to meet his maker, which is God. Therefore, the circumstances which are created around the death of a person are so sensitive, emotional, and perceptive that a prudent man would refrain from lying in the due process of time.
When death is accruing to a person, it is supposed that the final words of the man who is going to die would be anything but a mere lie. Dying Declaration could be a brief description of the circumstances in which his/her death occurred, and it can also be something which the dying declarant wanted to prove before he/she goes to heaven. But, in contemporary times, as far the times and the world has been developing it has been observed that human beings are indeed working on sharpening their skills. It has also been noted that there might be a circumstance in which the dying declarant lies on the final words that he is going to say before he dies. Therefore, it is very important to note the veracity of statements stated by the dying declarant.
The dying declaration means a statement that is given by an individual who is going to make his maker or who is dead. Such statements are valid under Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. Dying Declaration is deemed to be a perfect sort of evidence because of the pre-supposed fact that a man who is going to meet his maker or God wouldn’t lie. A Dying Declaration is deemed to be incomplete as far as the person making it and person addressing it are not identified.
DIFFERENCE BETWEEN INDIAN LAW AND ENGLISH LAW
The English Law states that a Dying Declaration is admissible if the declarant who is going to die has entertained a death which he wouldn’t have expected, if the death would have been expected in the mere future, any statements made as in the form of Dying Declaration are inadmissible in the Court of Law.
However, it is to be noted that the Indian Law does not provide for any such limitations on the making of any Dying Declarations. The mere requirement for a Dying Declaration to be valid is that the declarant has faced death and it has to be proved that before the declarant was dying, the statements were made in the form of a Dying Declaration.
ESSENTIALS OF SECTION 32(1) OF INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT
Following are certain conditions which are a pre-requisite to be fulfilled for a statement to be admissible as Dying Declaration:
- The statement may be made orally or in written form. Although, in the case of Emperor v. Abdullah, [i] it was held that where the dying declarant is trying to convey his thoughts through sign language or conduct, it is deemed to be admissible evidence.
- The statement must describe the
- Circumstances of death,
- Series of events which caused the death.
- If the statements were not made out of immediate death of a person then the same evidence shall be substantiated under Section 157 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
- The events related to the cause of death of the Declarant shall be questioned.
- The series of events that took place does not necessarily promise the death of a person.
In the case of Pakala Narayan Swami v. Emperor, [ii] it was held that where an accused makes a statement which explains the series of transactions resulting in his/her death, then such transaction is valid under the Indian Evidence Act, Section 32(1).
CAN FIR BE ADMITTED AS DYING DECLARATION?
It was held in the case of K. Ramchanda Reddy v. Public Prosecution, [iii] that whereon an injured person approaches the police station to file an FIR, and dies therein after making the same, the FIR is considered to be a Dying Declaration.
CONTENTS OF DYING DECLARATION
Dying Declaration shall be recorded in the language in which the Declarant chooses to. Also, the Dying Declaration shall be the replica of the statement as specified by the Declarant. In the case of Deepak Baliram Bajaj v. The State of Maharashtra, [iv] it was observed that an individual died and her dying declaration was recorded in the language in which the Magistrate was comfortable. It was held that the Dying Declaration should be recorded in the same language in which she was comfortable and speaking in.
PERSONS WHO CAN RECORD A DYING DECLARATION
There are several authorities which are competent to record the Dying Declaration. A Dying Declaration may be recorded by Police Authorities or Magistrates. In the case of State of U.P. v. Shishupal Singh, [v] it was observed that a dying declaration was noted by the Judicial Authorities which was not verified by the Declarant and the prosecution also failed to prove the veracity of it. It was held that any such statements made shall be corroborated and shall not form the sole basis of conviction of the accused. Also, in the case of Ram Singh v. Delhi Administration, [vi] it was held that a Dying Declaration can be rejected because it has been recorded by a police officer.
DYING DECLARATION AND ITS ADMISSIBILITY AS A PIECE OF EVIDENCE
In the case of Khushal Rao v. the State of Bombay, [vii] certain conditions and precedents were laid down related to the concept of the Dying Declaration and its admissibility. They are as follows:
- A Dying Declaration has to be necessarily be corroborated and substantiated.
- A Dying Declaration is a strong piece of evidence.
- The facts of the case need to be kept in mind before the admission of the dying declaration.
- A Dying Declaration would be given more importance if recorded by a Magistrate.
Also, in the case of Surajdeo Ojha & Ors v. the State of Bihar, [viii] it was held that where a dying declaration is presented before a court, it cannot be rejected prima facie unless corroborated and substantiated.
Dying Declaration discloses the exact statement of the words of a declarant who is dead, and attempts at explaining the circumstances in which such death may or may not have been caused. Therefore, it is to be noted that a Dying Declaration is a strong piece of evidence. The concept of Dying Declaration runs on the notion that wherein a person explains the causes or series of transaction which resulted in his/her death he/she wouldn’t lie because he is going to face is the maker. There have been numerous precedents elaborating this particular notion and even in certain cases, it was observed that the Dying Declaration given as a form of sign languages where the individuals are not able to speak or unwilfully express themselves, such Dying Declaration by way of sign languages and conduct are also responsible.
However, it is still pre-supposed that this is a certain area where a lot of precedents have already elaborated and lengthened the judicial as well as practical status. The concept of the Dying Declaration as a strong piece of evidence has been invented for the betterment of the individuals to provide them with a certain area of hope that if anything wrong happens to them in the series of the transaction of their death, the wrongdoers shall be punished. The Judicial System runs on the principle of Equity, Good Conscience, Fraternity, and Equality; Therefore, such a system is always construed for the betterment of the public and the declarants.
Author(s) Name: Anshit Minocha (UPES, Dehradun)
[i] 92 Ind Cas 145.
[ii] AIR 1939 BOMLR 428.
[iii] AIR 1976 SC 542.
[iv] AIR 1993 CriLJ 3269.
[v] AIR 1994 SC 129.
[vi] 1995 CriLJ 3838.
[vii] AIR 1958 SC 552.
[viii] AIR 1979 SC 359.