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Table of Content

1. Introduction

2. Meaning of Dying Declaration

3. Analysis

4. Admissibility of dying declaration in the Court

5. WEIGHT ATTACHED TO DYING DECLARATIONS

6. CASE LAWS

7. Conclusion

8. Bibliography

Introduction
"Nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire. No one at the point of death is
presumed to lie." "A man will not meet his Maker with a lie in his mouth"
-- is the philosophy in law underlying admittance in evidence of dying
declaration. "A dying declaration made by person on the verge of his
death has a special sanctity as at that solemn moment, a person is most
unlikely to make any untrue statement.
The shadow of impending death is by itself the guarantee of the truth
of the statement made by the deceased regarding the causes or
circumstances leading to his death. A dying declaration, therefore,
enjoys almost sucrose not status, as a piece of evidence, coming as it
does from the mouth of the deceased victim. Once the statement of
the dying person and the evidence of the witnesses testifying to the
same passes the test of careful scrutiny of the Courts, it becomes a
very important and a reliable piece of evidence and if the Court is
satisfied that the dying declaration is true and free from any
embellishment such a dying declaration, by itself, can be sufficient for
recording conviction even without looking for any corroboration"--is
the statement of law summed up by the Supreme Court in Kundula
Bala Subrahmanyam v. State of A.P. , (1993) 2 SCC 684) and
reiterated in Laxmi v. Omprakash (AIR 2001 SC 2383. ) The Supreme
Court further added such a statement, called the dying declaration,
is relevant and admissible in evidence 'provided it has been made by
the deceased while in a fit mental condition'.The above statement of
law, by way of introduction to this chapter is the crux of the whole law
of evidence regarding dying declaration. The law has become now
well settled. Dying declaration is admissible in evidence. A dying
declaration, if found reliable, can form the basis of conviction. A court
of facts is not excluded from acting upon an uncorroborated dying
declaration for finding conviction. A dying declaration, as a piece of
evidence, stands on the same footing as any other piece of evidence.
It has to be judged and appreciated in the light of the surrounding
circumstances and its weight determined by reference to the
principles governing the weighing of evidence.

Meaning of Dying Declaration


In laymans language, we can say that dying declaration is the
statement made by a person who is dying. But in legal sense it has
got a different meaning. It is not that all the statements made by a
dying person can be termed as dying declarations. It is only that
statement of the deceased, which he made before his death and
which shows the cause of death or the circumstances leading to his
death can be termed as dying declaration, provided the death of that
person comes in question before a judicial authority.

Dictionary Meaning of Dying Declaration

None of the language dictionaries define the word dying declaration


jointly but the words dying and declaration has been shown
separately the literal meaning of which a declaration or statement
which is going to die. But if we go by these meanings the whole
meaning of dying declaration will loose its significance. Therefore this
meaning cannot be assigned to the term dying declaration.

Analysis
Ulka 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 into 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.

The Apex Court in its decision in P.V. Radhakrishna v. State of


Karnataka held that the principle on which a dying declaration is
admitted in evidence is indicated in latin maxim, nemo morturus
procsumitur mentri, a man will not meet his maker with a lie in his
mouth. Information lodged by a person who died subsequently
relating to the cause of his death, is admissible in evidence under this
clause.
In a leading case, wife of the accused had borrowed money from the
deceased in the sum of Rs. 3000 at the interest of 18 percent.
Related to his debt a number of letters had signed by the wife of
accused which was discovered from the house of deceased after his
death. One letter which was not signed by someone had been
received by the deceased K.N. on 20th March,1937, it was
reasonably clear that it would had come from the wife of accused,
who invited him to come Berhampur on that day or next day.

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 eye witness of 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.

WEIGHT ATTACHED TO DYING DECLARATIONS


A man will not meet his maker with a lie in his mouth is the maxim
that is applied in case of dying declarations. A dying declarations
made by the victim in a fit mental condition and on the verge of death
has a special sanctity, at the solemn moment, a person is most
unlikely to make an untrue statement, the shadow of impending death
in itself is the guarantee of the truth of his declaration as to the cause
and the circumstances leading to his death, a dying declaration hence
is held to be almost sacrosanct.

In order to test the reliability of the dying declaration the court has to
keep in view like the circumstances which the person on the point of
death had for observation, whether his capacity to remember the
facts stated by him, had not been impaired by him at the time he was
making the statement, that the statement was made at the earliest
opportunity and is in no way a result of tutoring by any interested
parties. The dying declaration stands on the dame footing as any
other piece of eveidence and has to be judged in the light of the
surrounding circumstances with reference
to the principles governing the weight to be attached.
Where there was no inconsistency in the evidence, regarding the oral
dying declaration, conviction based on the dying declaration is
unassailable and the same will be the consequence of voluntary and
consistent statements reduced in writing, corroborated by
independent witnesses and the presence of motive as a crime.

A dying declaration cannot be ignored when crucial facts are found in


it merely on the ground that the declaration does not include as to
how the accused received injuries. The crux of the whole matter is as
to who stabbed him and the reason for him doing so and if the answer
is found in the dying declaration then the declaration has to be
admitted.[ State of Maharashtra v. Krishnamurthy AIR 1981 SC 617]

CASE LAWS
P.V. Radhakrishna V. State of Karnataka
MANU/SC/0496/2003
This is a very important case where the Supreme Court illustrated
and enumerated the principle governing dying declaration laying more
emhasis on corroboration and dying declaration.
On 7.2.1993 Smt. Dharni was in the house with the accused-
appellant when they quarrelled over certain, domestic differences,
and the accused poured kerosene and set her on fire. On hearing her
screams and seeing smoke coming out of the room, their landlord
V.N. Guptha (PW1) rushed to the spot. He did not find the accused
there: but was told by the deceased that the accused had poured
Kerosene and set her on fire and run away. On receiving of
information about the incident Srinivasa Murthy, ASI, (PW6) arrived at
the spot along with Sivanna (PW4) Police constable. The deceased
was taken to the Victoria Hospital for treatment. At the hospital PW6
recorded statement of the deceased in the presence of Dr. M.
Narayana Reddy (PW7). This was treated as FIR. After registering
the case, investigation was started. In the hospital the deceased
breathed her last while undergoing treatment on 8.2.1993 at about
10.25 p.m.

Reliance was placed on the dying declaration, which was recorded by


PW6 in the presence of PW7 and was marked as Exhibit P-7. In
appeal before the High Court, the accused-appellant contended that
the so-called dying declaration was not credible and acceptable. But
the High Court did not find any substance in the plea, and dismissed
the appeal by the impugned judgment.

The honble Supreme Court held that, it is relevant to take note of


Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872 (in short 'Evidence Act')
which deals with cases in which statement of relevant fact by person
who is dead or cannot be found, etc. is relevant. The general rule is
that all oral evidence must be direct viz., if it refers to a fact which
could be seen it must be the evidence of the witness who says he
saw it, if it refers to a fact which could be heard, it must be the
evidence of the witness who says he heard it, if it refers to a fact
which could be perceived by any other sense, it must be the evidence
of the witness who says he perceived it by that sense. Similar is the
case with opinion. These aspects are elaborated in Section 60. The
eight clause' of Section 32 are exceptions to the general rule against
hearsay just stated. Clause (1) of Section 32 makes relevant what is
generally described as dying declaration, though such an expression
has not been used in any Statute. It essentially means statements
made by a person as to the cause of his death or as to the
circumstances of the transaction resulting in his death. The grounds
of admission are; firstly, necessity for the victim being generally the
only principal eye-witness the crime, the exclusion of the statement
might deflect the ends of justice; and secondly, the sense of
impending death, which creates a sanction equal to the obligation of
an oath. The general principle on which this species of evidence is
admitted is that they are declarations made in extremity, when the
party is at the point of death and when every hope of this world is
gone, when every motive to falsehood is silenced, and the mind is
induced by the most powerful considerations to speak the truth; a
situation so solemn and so lawful is considered by the law as creating
an obligation equal to that which is imposed by a positive oath
administered in a Court of justice. The principle on which dying
declaration is admitted in evidence is indicated in legal maxim "nemo
moriturus proesumitur mentiri - a man will not meet his maker with a
lie in his mouth."

This is a case where the basis the basis of conviction of the accused
is the dying declaration. The situation in which a person is a on
deathbed is so solemn and serene when he is dying that the grave
position in which he is placed, is the reason in law to accept veracity
of his statement. It is for this reason the requirements of oath and
cross-examination are dispensed with. Besides, should the dying
declaration be excluded it will result in miscarriage of justice because
the victim being generally the only eye-witness in a serious crime, the
exclusion of the statement would leave the Court without a scrap of
evidence.

Goverdhan Raoji Ghyore v State of Maharashtra 1993 Cr.


L.J. 3414 SC
The learned sessions judge did not accept the dying declaration
recorded by the police. The learned sessions judge referred to the
statement of the prosecution witness Madhukar and noted that the
said witness stated that the deceased stated in her dying declaration
that her husband put kerosene on her body, but the police did not
record it and also did not allow the panchas to read the dying
declaration. The learned sessions judge was of the view that the
evidence of the said witness had suggested that the police must not
have recorded the dying declaration exactly according to the
statement of Sunanda.
After giving our anxious consideration to the respective submission
made by the learned counsel for the parties, it appears to us that the
dying declarations should not have been discarded by the learned
sessions judge. The learned sessions judge should have noted that
both the dying declarations were similar in material particulars. The
minor discrepancies in the two dying declarations were not sufficient
to invalidate either of the two dying declarations. Even if the first dying
declaration recorded by the police officer is not taken into
consideration, we do not find any reason to discard the second dying
declaration recorded by the Taluk magistrate.
Such dying declaration was recorded by Taluk magistrate after
obtaining a certificate from the doctor that the deceased was in a fit
state of mind to make the statement. Even after recording such dying
declaration, the learned magistrate obtained a further recording
certificate from the doctor that the deceased was in a fit state of mind
to make the statement. The distinction sought to be made out by the
learned sessions judge that a fit state of mind and a conscious state
of mind were not the same thing, is too hypertechnical in the facts
and circumstances of the case. The learned magistrate put the
questions to the deceased as to whether she was in a fit state of mind
to make the statement, the dying declaration was required to be
discarded.
Ulka 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 into 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.

The Apex Court in its decision in P.V. Radhakrishna v. State of


Karnataka held that the principle on which a dying declaration is
admitted in evidence is indicated in latin maxim, nemo morturus
procsumitur mentri, a man will not meet his maker with a lie in his
mouth. Information lodged by a person who died subsequently
relating to the cause of his death, is admissible in evidence under this
clause.

In a leading case, wife of the accused had borrowed money from the
deceased in the sum of Rs. 3000 at the interest of 18 percent.
Related to his debt a number of letters had signed by the wife of
accused which was discovered from the house of deceased after his
death. One letter which was not signed by someone had been
received by the deceased K.N. on 20th March,1937, it was
reasonably clear that it would had come from the wife of accused,
who invited him to come Berhampur on that day or next day.

Widow of K.N. had told to the court that his husband had told him that
Swamis wife had invited him to come to Berhampur to receive his
payment. Next day K.N. left his house to go to Berhampur & on 23rd
March, his body, which was cut in to seven pieces, found in a trunk in
the compartment of a train at Puri. The accused was convicted of
murder & sentenced to death because there were many evidence
against him.

Wazir Chand v. State of Haryana in which Court observed


pakala ruling & said, applying these to the facts of the case
their Lordships pointed out that the transaction in the case was
one in which the deceased was murdered on 21st March & his
body was found in a trunk proved to be bought on behalf of the
accused. The statement made by the deceased on 20th March
that he was setting out to the place where the accused was
living, appeared clearly to be a statement as to some of the
circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death.
Thus the statement was rightly admitted.

Conclusion

Dying Declaration is a legal concept refers to that statement which is


made by a dying person, explaining the circumstances of his death.
LORD LUSH, L.J., quoted that A dying declaration is admitted in
evidence because it is presumed that no person who is immediately
going into the presence of his Maker, will do so with a lie on his lips. But
the person making the declaration must entertain settled hopeless
expectation of immediate death. If he thinks he will die tomorrow it will
not do.

LORD EYRE, C.B., also held that The principle on which this species of
evidence is admitted is, that they are declarations made in extremity,
when the part is at the point of oath, & when every hope of this world is
gone; when every motive of falsehood is silenced, & the mind is induced
by the most powerful consideration to speak the truth; a situation so
solemn & awful is considered by law as creating an obligation equal to
that which is imposed by a positive oath administered in the court of
justice.

Dying declaration is admissible on the sole ground that it was made in


extremis. And in India, its admissibility is explained in Sec-32(11) of
Indian Evidence Act. It is cleared by the above mentioned statements
given by different courts that dying declaration can be in any form but it
must be recorded carefully & duly proved, which the courts make
admissible as the DYING DECLARATION. .