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Dying Declaration

The dying declaration is generally considered to be admissible because the victim is a sole eye witness of his injuries and not considering his shreds of evidence will be equal to biases and injustice and moreover, a declaration made by a person under the exception of his death is presumed to be true. Due to moral and religious aspects, a person who is about to die will generally speak the truth and will not implicate a wrong person who is not at all responsible for such injuries that took his life.

There is no exclusive format of a dying declaration. It may be written or verbal or it can also include any kind of gestures and signs. An injured person may make his dying declaration in form of gestures and signs if he is incapable of speaking. The value of evidence can increase if the dying declaration is recorded in the language of the declarant. A dying declaration cannot be considered to be complete if it does not disclose any relevant facts or names or circumstances that led to the death of the victim.

The dying declaration can be in form of question and answer or in the form of narration. It was also taken into consideration that the diary entries and letters written by the deceased person can reveal the circumstances which lead to the victimís death. It is well settled in the legal proposition that there should be an impending relationship between the statement and the circumstances of the death.

For instance, a married woman who had been expressing the danger to her life to her parents and relatives by talking and by writing to them lost her life three or four months after that. The Court held that the statements and time of death were not too distant in time from the point of death. Hence, the Court held that Section 32 shall also be applicable to the cases of suicide. However, minor inconsistencies are often disregarded by the Court on the account of the victim who is severely injured.

The evidentiary value of the Dying declaration varies according to the circumstances and facts of the case. Valuation of such declaration depends upon various factors such as- whether the declaration has been recorded in the exact language as it was made, whether the declaration was made soon after the incidence of the alleged incident and not solely interpreted by any third person, state of mind and body of the declarant, and who recorded the declaration/statement.

In the judgment of Poonam Bai vs. the State of Chattisgarh, it was alleged that the dying declaration was given by the deceased before the Naib Tehsildar cum Executive Magistrate and the witnesses were also present. The only complication was there was no doctorís certificate with the dying declaration.

It was stated that the condition of having a medical certificate can be dispensed with. This can be done when the person recording the dying declaration is satisfied with the fact that the declarant is in fit medical condition to at the time of giving the declarant. In case of non-availability of the Magistrate and in view of the urgency, sometimes the Dying Declarations recorded by the Police Officers and the Medical Officers working there, the Courts are accepting the Dying Declarations recorded by the Police Officers and the Medical Officers.

Recording of the statement should not be under the influence of anybody or prepared by prompting, tutoring, or imagination. Even if any of these points are proved then dying declaration is not considered valid. If it becomes suspicious then it will need corroboration. Ideally, the treating doctor should give fitness for the statement as he knows best about the condition of the patient keeping in mind the pre-existing diseases of the declarant.

He should also record the date and time of giving compos mentis. The most important point of consideration is that declarant was in a fit state of mind to give the statement when the recording was started and remained in fit condition till the recording of the statement finished.

Award Winning Article Is Written By: Ms.Chinmayee Smrutipragyan Nayak

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