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FIR as Dying Declaration

First Information Report

The expression, First Information Report is always understood to mean information recorded under section 154 (1) of CrPC; though this expression is not defined in the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. It is the information given to the Officer-in-Charge/Station House Officer of a Police Officer in the form of a complaint or accusation, regarding the commission or suspected commission of a cognizable offence. It is given with the object of setting the criminal law in motion and police starting the investigation. The report forms the basis of the case.

An FIR forms the initial step in any criminal case before it finally proceeds to trial and culminates in a conviction against the perpetrator. This is again, the most essential piece of corroborative factor upon which the entire edifice of the prosecuting party's argument rests. A purpose of an FIR is to help a S.H.O./O.C. of a Police Station take action on a crime quickly and obtain evidence against the perpetrator.

The statement is the first information relating to the crime, and thus it is one important document. It is also significant for it involves a declaration made promptly, without any embellishments, immediately following the completion of an offence and before any prosecution case has been fabricated.

FIR is an important document. FIR is not substantial evidence but it affects the prosecution case at times. Hence, proper recording of FIR is required. An FIR should contain as much information as is available at the time of its recording.

Dying Declaration

A "Dying Declaration" is something a person says about how he died or what happened to him just before he passed away. Even if the person doesn't die right away and it takes a few days, we still take his words seriously. AIR 2007 SC 1932

This is because we believe that when someone is close to death, he won't lie. The law in India, under Section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, recognizes Dying Declarations. For example, if someone gets hurt and lodges FIR with the police officer in this regard, and then later dies from those injuries, what he said to the police in the FIR becomes a Dying Declaration.

This applies even if the person's statement was recorded under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. In essence, we treat these statements as really important because the person who said them can't lie when they are so close to the end of their life.

Hence, a statement of an injured person recorded under Section 161 Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 is also treated as Dying Declaration if the injured person later succumbs to the injuries.

FIR as Dying Declaration

  • A First Information Report (FIR) filed by a deceased person is admissible under Section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 as a declaration of a person before his death in connection with the circumstances of the transaction leading to his death. It was held in the case of Kapoor Singh v. Emperor reported in AIR 1930, Lahore page 450.
  • A First Information Report (FIR) can be treated as Dying Declaration if informant after lodging report to the police dies of his injuries; it was held in the case of Munnu Raja v. State of Madhya Pradesh reported in AIR 1976 DC 2199.
  • In a case involving Harendra Rai v. The State of Bihar decided on 18 August 2023, the Supreme Court of India said that the FIR (First Information Report) is a public document according to Section 74 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The Supreme Court bench, while convicting one Prabhunath Singh, mentioned that the FIR based on the statement of the injured Rajendra Rai (now deceased) should be treated like a Dying Declaration. The Dying Declaration is material evidence and is admissible under Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The three-judge bench hearing the case comprised Justice Abhay S. Oka, Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul, and Justice Vikram Nath.

During the court proceedings, one of the questions raised was whether the FIR or the statement (Bayan Tahriri) could be considered reliable evidence for the prosecution. The bench clarified that previous decisions of the court established that a statement by an injured person recorded as an FIR can be treated as a Dying Declaration. Under Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act this statement is admissible.

The court emphasized that the Dying Declaration doesn't need to cover the entire incident or provide a detailed case history. In this situation, corroboration (additional evidence supporting the statement) is not necessary; the Dying Declaration alone can be sufficient for conviction.

� In the case of Ram Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2019 SCC Online Chh 83, decided on 22-07-2019, the Court observed: "The legal position is therefore well settled that the FIR lodged by the deceased would attain the character and legal status of Dying Declaration if the victim dies before his/her examination in the Court." In this case the court referred to the decision in the case of Dharam Pal v. State of U.P., (2008) 17 SCC 337.

  • First Information Report, Mangari Rajender, Asia Law House, Hyderabad

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