Dying Declaration: Evidentiary Value
By Team Legistify / 2017-07-05
In the law of evidence, the dying declaration is testimony that would normally be barred as hearsay but may, nonetheless, be admitted as evidence in Criminal law trials because it constituted the last words of a dying person

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Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act is an exception to the principle that excludes the hearsay rule. The principle behind the concept of dying declaration is that the person having the first-hand information about a particular matter, however, due to death or any kind of disability is unable to appear before the court, then his/ her knowledge/ information should be transmitted to the court through some other person. This Section plays a significant role when the person having a particular knowledge is sought to be proved died or cannot be found or due to any reason his attendance cannot be procured in the Court. However, proof must be produced before the Court that why the person could not be present to give evidence. Further Supreme Court of India has held that a dying declaration made by a victim, accusing a person of having been responsible for his/her death cannot form the basis of a conviction if it suffers from infirmity.

The statement made can be verbal/ oral connected to the circumstances of the transaction that resulted in the death caused to that person; such statement must be made before dying known as “dying declaration”. Such statement plays relevancy when the person who is making the statement, is under an expectation of death, irrespective of the nature of proceedings in which the cause of death comes into question. If the declarant survives after making the statement then it is inadmissible as dying declaration but the statement can be used under Section 157 of the Indian Evidence Act , in order to contradict, corroborate, impeach or confirm the credit of the person by whom it was made.
In Uka Ram v. State of Rajasthan Apex Court held that, “when a statement is made by a person as to cause of his death or as to any circumstances of transaction which resulted in his death, in case in which cause of his death comes in question is admissible in evidence, such statement in law are compendiously called dying declaration”.

Admissibility of dying declaration in the Court

The concept of dying declaration is based on the Maxim “ NEMO MORTURE PRAESUMNTUR MENTIRI ” which means that the person who is about to die would not tell lie. The necessity of relying on the dying declaration is that a) victim being the sole eyewitness to the crime committed, b) the statements made by a person who is about to die would be nothing but just truth. These are the two principles on which the concept of admissibility of dying declaration it is based upon.

Evidentiary value

In the law of evidence, the dying declaration is testimony that would normally be barred as hearsay but may, nonetheless, be admitted as evidence in Criminal law trials because it constituted the last words of a dying person

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