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Dying Declaration

Dying Declaration had been a significant instrument of administration of justice since time immemorial. The common principle on which this class of evidence is admitted is that they are declarations made in edge, when the party is at the peak of death and when every expectation of this world is departed, when every object to deception is silenced, and the brain is induced by the most dominant considerations to verbalize the reality; a circumstances so glum and so lawful is considered by the law as creating an obligation equal to that which is obligatory by a positive oath administered in a Court of justice.

The gloominess of instant death is considered the best assurance of the truth of the declaration made by a dying person, concerning the causes and conditions leading to the death, which are completely fresh in his mind or are uncontaminated or discoloured by any other concern except speaking the truth for which special holiness should be close to a dying declaration. In the evolving times, with the quick progression of society, the religious estimations of the public had changed.

The man of today is gotten in the snare of a heartless consumerist and materialistic culture with every one of the allurements it offers him. An unquenchable avarice for riches, influence, and impact appear to have assumed control over the cutting-edge man. The fast advancement of society, the mechanical and materialistic headways have acquired the lack of concern the disposition of the people. nowadays individuals do have the inclination of talking lie or of disguising reality even at the far end of their lives when they are gone up against with the prompt passing. Promote the intrinsic deficiencies of our legal framework that have a material effect upon the suitability or generally of the Dying Declarations. Additionally, the way that the great weapon of the criminal organization of equity to be specific, Dying Declaration is being abused to defeat the interests of equity and ends up being to be incapable numerous a times.

Meaning
Words dying declaration means a statement written or verbal of relevant facts made by a person who is dead. It is dealt under clause (1) of section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872. Generally, it relates to the cause of death of declarant. Dying declaration can be proved by the person who records it. A dying Declaration is not complete unless full names and addressed of the person involved are given in it.


The distinction between the English Law and Indian Law:
Under the English law, it is essential/ to the admissibility of dying declaration that the declarant must have entertained a settled hopeless expectation of death, but he need not have been expecting immediate death.

Indian law does not put any such restrictions. It is not required under Indian law that the maker should be under an expectation of imminent death, nor it is restricted to the case of homicide only. Before a dying declaration may be admitted, it must be proved that its maker is dead. If the maker survives, it may be used to corroborate or contradict his statement in the court.

Requirements:
According to Section 32(1) itself:
1) A statement may be oral and written. But inEmperor vs. Abdullahit was held that Conduct to be relevant as dying declaration.
2) The statement must be as to:
(a) cause of death
(b) circumstances of the transaction
(c) resulted in the death

Pakala Narayan Swamy vs. Emperor, AlR 1939[1]-The statement made by the deceased to his wife that he was going to the accused to collect money from him (accused being indebted to the deceased), was held to be admissible under section 32(1).

FIR as dying declaration-

Where an injured person lodged the FIR and then died. It was held in K.Ramchanda Reddy vs. Public Prosecution[2]to be relevant as dying declaration.
3) Death of the person is must while making the statement-If death is not the result, his statement inadmissible/as dying declaration, but it might be relied on under Section 157 to corroborate his testimony of to contradict him under Section 145. It can be used to corroborate the evidence in court under Section 6 and 8.
4) Cause of death of the deceased must be in question.
5) Expectancy of death is not necessary.
6) Whatever may be the nature of proceeding-It may/be civil or criminal nature where the death of the person- deceased is in question.

The language of dying declaration

Dying declaration recorded in the language of the declarant acquires added strengthened reliability. As far as possible, it should be recorded in the exact words and language of the declarant. InDeepak Baliram Bajaj vs State of Maharashtra,[3]the of death of a lady was due to 100% burn injuries, the dying declaration was recorded in the hospital by a constable. Questions were asked in Sindhi by Special Executive Magistrate and were replied in Sindhi and then translated to the constable in Hindi who in turn recorded them in Marathi. The declaration was explained in Hindi and not in Sindhi to the declarant. The Supreme Court held that the conviction based solely on such a dying declaration could not be sustained.

A) Who can record a Dying declaration?

A dying declaration can be recorded by a person, even by a police officer. But if it is recorded by a Judicial Magistrate, it will have more strength and reliability.

In the State of U.P. v/s Shishupal Singh, [4]the dying declaration was recorded by the Magistrate which was neither signed by the deceased, nor contained date and time of its recording and the prosecution failed to give any explanation that the deceased was not able to sign it. It was held that such dying declaration which was impregnated with so many suspicious circumstances which created doubt about its genuineness and it was not safe to base conviction on it. In Ram Singh vs. Delhi Administration,[5] it was held by Delhi High Court that a clear and corroborated dying declaration can not be rejected just only because it was recorded by a police officer.

(B) Admissibility of dying declaration -

In Sant Gopal vs. State of U.P.[6]1995 Cr.L.J. (AIR.) Evidence of dying declaration is admissible not only against the person causing the/death but also against other persons participating in causing death.

The Supreme Court has laid down in several judgments’ the principles governing dying declaration, which can be summed up as under:
i) There is neither rule of law nor of prudence that the dying declaration cannot be acted upon without corroboration.
ii) If the court is satisfied that the dying declaration is true and voluntary, it can base conviction omit, without corroboration.
iii) The court must scrutinize the dying declaration carefully and must ensure that the declaration/is not the result of tutoring, prompting or imagination. The deceased had the opportunity to observe and identify the assailants and was in a fit state to make the declaration.
iv) Where a dying declaration is suspicious it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence.
v) Where the deceased was unconscious and could never make any dying declaration evidence about it is to be rejected.
vi) A dying declaration which suffers from infirmity cannot form the basis of conviction.
vii) Merely because a dying declaration does not contain the details as to the occurrence, it is not to be rejected. Equally, merely because it is a brief statement it is not to be discarded, on the contrary, the shortness of the statement itself guarantees truth.
viii) Normally, the court to satisfy whether the deceased was in a fit mental condition to make the dying declaration look up to medical opinion. But where the eyewitness has said that the deceased was in a fit and conscious state to make the dying declaration, the medical opinion cannot prevail.
ix) Where the prosecution version differs from the version as given in the dying declaration, the said declaration cannot be acted upon.

Case Analysis of Pakala Narayana Swami Vs. King Emperor
The appellant was charged with the offense of murder. The body of the deceased which was cut was recovered from a trunk in a railway compartment on March 23, 1937. One of the items of evidence against him adduced by the prosecution was a statement by the deceased to his wife on March 20, 1937, that he received a letter asking him to go to the house of the accused of receiving money due to him and that he was so going. On the question of its admissibility in evidence, the Privy Council- observed "The statement was rightly admitted under Section 32(1) of the Evidence Act. For admissibility under the section, the statement may be made before the cause of death has arisen, or before the deceased has any reason to anticipate being killed. The circumstances must be circumstances of the transaction general expressions indicating fear/or suspicion whether of an individual or/otherwise and not directly related to the occasion of the death will not be admissible.

But statements made by the deceased that he was proceeding to the spot where he was in fact killed, or as to his reason for so proceeding, or that he was going to meet a particular person, or that he had been invited by such person to meet him would each of them be circumstances of the transaction, and would be so whether the person was unknown, or was not the person accused. Such a statement might indeed be exculpatory of the person accused. Circumstances of the transaction is a phrase that no doubt conveys some limitation. It is not as broad as the analogous use in circumstantial evidence which includes evidence of all relevant facts. It is one the other hand narrower than 'res gestae'. Circumstances must have some proximate relation to the actual occurrence though as for instance, in a case of prolonged poisoning they may be related to dates at considerable distance from the date of the actual fatal dose. It will be observed that circumstances are of the transaction which resulted in the death of the declarant.

It is not necessary that there should be a known transaction other than that the death of the declarant has ultimately been caused, for the condition of the admissibility of the evidence is that the cause of (the declarant's death comes into question. In the present case, the cause of the deceased's death comes into question. The transaction is in which the deceased was murdered on March 21 or 22 and his body was) found in a trunk proved to be bought on behalf of the accused, The statement made by the deceased on March 20 or 21 that he was setting out to the place where the accused lived, and to meet a person, the wife of the: accused, who lived in the accused's house, appears clearly to be a statement as to some of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death."

Conclusion
Since dying declaration contains the final words of the person dying correlated to the causes of death of such person or as to the situation leading to the death of such person, it is a material piece of evidence. Every attempt should be made to stay it complete from all sorts of impurity. Yet, human character and standard of conduct can't govern away the danger of demolishing of dying declarations because of numerous elements, for example, the psychological state of the individual making proclamation, mental state of the individual account the dying assertion, encompassing conditions of the dying presentation, the typical and customary human mistakes in watching the things and in conveying everything that needs to be conveyed to the others particularly, the outsiders, and so on. At the point when these realities combined with the conditions as examined above-identified with the diminishing trust remainder of the dying declarations are mulled over, it very well may be securely and carefully presumed that the Dying Declarations are to be conceded in proof after due validation and in the wake of confirming the encompassing conditions prompting the dying declarations. It isn't protected nowadays to accord consecrated status to the dying declarations to base the discoveries of a case exclusively on its premise and to choose the destiny of the cases and criminal procedures solely on its premise by the Courts and even by the Investigating organizations.

End-Notes
[1] AIR1939
[2] 1976
[3] 1993 Cr.L.J. (SC)
[4] AIR 1994(SC)
[5] 1995 Cr.L.J. (Delhi)
[6] 1995 Cr.L.J. (AIR)

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