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Multiple Dying Declarations: Principles To Be Considered By A Trial Court

Case Name: Abhishek Sharma v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi)
Case No. Criminal Appeal No. 1473 of 2011
Judgment dated 18.10.2023

Supreme Court recently consolidated principles for a Court of law, to consider, when dealing with a case involving multiple dying declarations:
  1. The primary requirement for all dying declarations is that they should be voluntary and reliable and that such statements should be in a fit state of mind;
  2. All dying declarations should be consistent. In other words, inconsistencies between such statements should be 'material' for its credibility to be shaken;
  3. When inconsistencies are found between various dying declarations, other evidence available on record may be considered for the purposes of corroboration of the contents of dying declarations.
  4. The statement treated as a dying declaration must be interpreted in light of surrounding facts and circumstances.
  5. Each declaration must be scrutinized on its own merits. The court has to examine upon which of the statements reliance can be placed in order for the case to proceed further.
  6. When there are inconsistencies, the statement that has been recorded by a Magistrate or like higher officer can be relied on, subject to the indispensable qualities of truthfulness and being free of suspicion.
  7. In the presence of inconsistencies, the medical fitness of the person making such declaration, at the relevant time, assumes importance along with other factors such as the possibility of tutoring by relatives, etc.

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