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Trending: Call for Papers Volume 3 | Issue 3: International Journal of Advanced Legal Research [ISSN: 2582-7340]

ADMISSIBILITY OF DYING DECLARATIONS IN CRIMINAL COURTS: A CASE ANALYSIS by-Harleen Kaur Rait

ABSTRACT

Quite often, there are times when the victim is attacked with intent to be murdered but is unable to reach the police on time in order to report the murderer. However, such person might declare the identity of the murderer to someone else before his death. Can such declaration by the victim before his death be relied upon by the Court to convict the murderer? Or will such declaration be regarded as hearsay evidence on the ground that the victim is not available to give his testimony? The answer to this is that Dying declaration is regarded as an exception to hearsay evidence on account of it being the last words of the victim and such words cannot be deemed to be false. However, dying declaration still has toundergo thescrutinyby courts as per the rules of evidence in order to determine its admissibility. Courts across several decades have formulated a set of guidelines which state the conditions under which such a dying declaration can be relied upon by the Court and can be used in order to convict the murderer. The study is limited to the admissibility of dying declarations in criminal courts. This paper seeks to list down all of the guidelines given under landmark judgements and also pin point the areas where there has been contradictory guidelines given.

CHAPTER I: INTRODUCTION

Dying Declaration, by the very name of it signifies a statement either verbal or written given by a person before his death.2 It is a statement which represents a threat that the victim faced from the accused before his death. This statementwhich entails the circumstances leading to the death3 is regarded as relevant facts4 by the court.

Dying Declarations are admissible as evidence in the court for both criminal and civil cases.5 The admissibility relating to the dying declaration as evidence in an ongoing trial is a result of the legal maxim- nemomoritubrusprae-sumiturmentire which translates to “a dying man seldom lies”6 or “truth sits on the lips of a dying man.”7 Hence, the admissibility of the death declaration or leterm mortem as evidence is based upon the presumption that a man on the verge of death has no reason to lie and will only tell the truth.

Oral evidence must be primary evidence and must have the presence of a witness to be regarded as best evidence8 i.e evidence sufficient to prove a fact on its own. Hearsay evidence is an oral statement made by a person who is not a witness to the trial and such statements are inadmissible in court as they are the weakest forms of evidence. In dying declaration the person is dead and cannot be called before the court to testify or to be cross- examined. So, would death declaration fall under the ambit of hearsay evidence? No, since section 329of Indian Evidence Act is an exception to the rule of hearsay evidence on the principle of necessity.10 Death Declaration is an evidence admissible in court because it falls under ‘relevant facts’11. Numerous times, the courts in India have relied upon death declarations to convict the accused.

For a dying declaration to be regarded as an evidence for conviction, the court assesses whether the statement was true and whether it was made voluntarily by the victim. Once the court is satisfied with that, it can convict the accused without requiring any further corroboration.12 In case, the dying declaration is unable to inspire the confidence of Court due to it not seeming truthful, then such a declaration will not be accepted by the court.

However, the dying declaration should not be discarded when there are certain weak elements in the dying declaration, but instead a greater duty is imposed upon the court to scrutinise the evidence and check its reliability.13

The burden of proving the admissibility of the dying declaration before the court is not on the accused but on the prosecution. The Dying Declaration is treated as substantive evidence and hence requires no further corroboration for convicting the accused14; however, the court should have confidence in such a declaration for it to be admitted.

In the Indian Law of Evidence, section 32(1) does not make any specifications or doesn’t lay down guidelines for admission of the death declaration or for its appreciation as evidence by the court. However, the guidelines relating to death declaration have been built up over the years in the courts. There are a number of judgments which have been given by the Supreme Court in order to understand the form of death declaration that is admissible in court and for appreciation of this death declaration in order to convict the accused. These guidelines by the virtue of Constitution16 are to be followed by all the courts in India.

Section 32(1), depicts two classes of statements which can be admitted as evidence. The first is the statement which relates to the “cause of death” and the second is when it relates to the “circumstances of transaction which resulted in death.”17

From a basic overview of section 32(1) of Evidence Act, it becomes known that one of the essentials for a dying declaration to be admitted in the court is that it must be proven that the declarant is dead or else it cannot be admitted as a dying declaration.18However, the dying declaration can be admitted even if a long time has passed since the dying declaration was made as long as the persondied due to the circumstances mentioned in the dying declaration.19

Incomplete dying declarations are not admissible in court, however if the incomplete dying declaration can implicate the accused and also depict the circumstances of the death, it can be admitted in the court.20

Section 32(1) of the Act does not define the meaning of dying declaration. InRam BihariYadav v. State of Bihar21, the court defined a dying declaration as a statement made by the departed which relates to the “cause of death” or to “the circumstances of transaction which resulted in death”. Irrespective of whether the person was under the anticipation of death while making the dying declaration, the statement becomes relevant under section 32 of the act.

As the principles and guidelines related to Dying Declaration have been formulated over the years with the help of judgments,the study is based on understanding the applicability of Section 32(1) of Indian Evidence Act, 1872 and admissibility of dying declarations incriminal cases by using ten landmark judgements.

CHAPTER II: LITERATURE REVIEW

Review of literature is integral in understanding the concepts which have been looked into for the purpose of research.

THE LAW OF EVIDENCE22 by Batuklal, acts as a guide in understanding the concept of dying declaration and the admissibility of evidence. The abundance of principles is illustrated with case laws form the basis of this study. MukundSarda& D.S. Choprain CASES AND MATERIALS ON EVIDENCE LAW23elaborate on the court’s role while appreciating the evidence. They also discuss the cases at length while emphasising thecorrelation between cases. It depicts a chain of evolution of principles in a particular aspect of dying declarations. The differences between the concept in Indian and English law are also discussed.Dr.Gokulesh Sharma in A MANUAL ON INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT24gave a precise note on the topic of dying declaration and stipulated that the principles related to dying declaration cannot be encompassed as an exhaustive list. The applicability of this concept rests on the discretion of the court and what inspires the confidence of the court.Justice A.V.Chandrashekar in Dying Declaration – Its Applicability In Criminal Cases25illustrated the practical problems which accrued in the admissibility of dying declarations and suggested a list of cases which have acted as a guiding force while solving these problems. It is often found that there are infirmities in the dying declaration. However these infirmities cannot be the sole reason for refusing to admit a dying declaration. Instead the court is supposed to scrutinise the evidence and check if it can be corroborated. Do Dying Lips Always Speak the truth? Admissibility of Dying Declaration in case of Suicide26by Mr.Sreenivasa Murthy & K. Syamala, discusses the admissibility of dying declarations in the cases of suicide. It depicts how the factors considered by the courts for scrutiny in suicide cases. More caution is taken for the scrutiny of suicide cases since there is possibility of tampering with evidence.

From the above mentioned literature, it is observed that a number of principles exist in relation to dying declarations and its admissibility is based on a lot of factors. Hence the research paper attempts to select such cases for analysis which harness basic guidelines on the admissibility of dying declaration which are relevant till date.

CHAPTER III:

  • RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

The method adopted for this research is qualitative analysis along with doctrinal research. Qualitative research method has been adopted to interpret the case laws fundamental to the research. Furthermore, doctrinal research which is the analysis of a legal doctrine was used for understanding the concept of death declaration under law of evidence. Doctrinal research methodology engages in simple research into the concepts of law. It is a method which consists of two steps- first interpreting and analysing the application of the primary sources of law and then making a deduction based on logic and reasoning.

The main aim of doctrinal research is analysis of primary sources of law. Through this methodology, the research leads to creation of new information to the already existing body of law. This form of study contains both features of qualitative and quantitative research.

This study relies upon both primary and secondary data. Primary sources include Indian Evidence Actand the judgments used for case analysis. Secondary sources such as research papers and textbooks on law of evidence have also been used in order to understand the concept and relevant principles.

Each of the cases have been analysed to come up with a principle related to the research. The case laws have been analysed in a chronological manner to understand the evolution of the concept. Focus is upon the formulation of a new guideline in a particular case. Certain other cases apart from the selected ones have also been used to elaborate on the concepts.

3.2  RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What are the elements which must be present for a statement to constitute as a dying declaration?
  2. What are the factors considered by the court to show confidence in a particular dying declaration?
  3. In what circumstances can a dying declaration be treated as the sole ground for conviction of the accused?

CHAPTER IV: CASE ANALYSIS

  • GESTURES IS A VALIDFORM OFDYING DECLARATION

Queen Empress v. Abdullah27:

Facts of the Case:

Abdullah was accused of murder of a prostitute named Dulhari. Dulhari whose throat was slit openwas asked certain questions by her mother, sub-inspector, Deputy Magistrate and the assistant surgeon and she answered the questions put before her by way of gestures sinceshe was unable to speak.

Issue: Whether the gestures made by Dulharican be admitted in the court as Dying Declaration when only oral and written statements are specified under Section 32 of Indian Evidence Act ?

Analysis: Dulhari gave clear hand gestures for affirming and negating the questions that were put before her. By answering the questions, Dulhari had stated the name of the accused, the weapon used for slitting her throat open and that she was asleep when her throat was slit.

Judgement: The Court held that ‘verbal statement’ used in section 32 (1)28 was a term wide enough to include gestures made in response to questions. Hence the dying declaration was admitted.

Principle: Gestures and signs are a valid form of Dying Declaration.

Other Relevant Judgements:

In Alexander v. The King,29 the victim gave the statement in the form of gestures owing to injuries, the deceased’s statement were taken as a verbal statement resembling that of a speech impaired person’s and such statement was relevant and admissible in court as a dying declaration.

In Mukesh v. NCT of Delhi30or popularly called as the Nirbhaya case, the statement of the victim was obtained by asking her questions in the form of multiple choice. She responded to these questions by writing as well as gestures (nods) which was regarded as a valid form of dying declaration.

4.2  TRANSACTIONS TO HAVE PROXIMATE EFFECT

PakalaNarayana Swami v. Emperor31

Facts of the case:

Upon the invitation of the accused, the deceased had left his house to go to Behrampurwhere the accused (Pakala) resided. Before the deceased left, he showed his wife the letter of invitation and had told her that he would demand the accused to pay back the money that the accused and his wife owed to him. But the deceased never returned and was found to be dead in a trunk with his body severed in pieces.

Issue: Whether the scope of the expression “circumstances of the transaction” under Section 32(1) was wide enough to include the conversation between the wife and the deceased?

Analysis: A statement which is made with regards to “any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death” would be a valid dying declaration. Though this expression is not as broad as ‘circumstantial evidence32, it has a broader meaning than res gestae.33For the dying declaration to be admissible, the dying declaration must depict that‘circumstances of transaction’have “proximate relation” to the actual occurrence and to the transaction which resulted in demise of the victim.

Judgement: Held that the statement given by the deceased to his wife that the accused had invited the deceased to his place of residence did form part of the circumstances of the transaction which led to the demise of the victim and hence the dying declaration was admissible.

Principles: “The circumstances of the transaction which resulted in the death of the declarant will be admissible if such transaction has some proximate effect with death:”

Other Relevant Cases: Onkar v. State of Madhya Pradesh34elaborated on the Pakalanaryana’s case and stated that a statement which merely suggests motive cannot be regarded as “proximate circumstances” since it is not intimately connected with the occurrence to be regarded as “a circumstance of the transaction”.

4.3  DYING DECLARATION CAN BE THE SOLE BASIS OF CONVICTION

KhushalRao v. State Of Bombay35

Facts of the Case:

The case relates to a person called Baboolal who was killed after being stabbedmultiple times by swords. When injured Baboolal reached the hospital, he was questioned by the doctor and Baboolal stated the names of his attackers.The doctor called up the sub-inspector who came and recorded the dying declaration of the victim. In total three dying declarations were recorded in the interval of two hours. The accused took the plea that dying declaration cannot be the sole basis of conviction.

Issues: Can a dying declaration be the sole basis of conviction?

Analysis: The court stated that it cannot be an absolute preposition that a dying declaration can’t be the foundation of conviction unless it is corroborated. It further listed the tests to check the reliability of a dying declaration:

  1. Each case must be viewed on its own fact and the decision should be made after analyzing the circumstances in which the dying declaration was
  2. It cannot be a rule that a dying declaration stands on par with other forms of evidence. Instead, its weightage as an evidence should be determined after taking a note of how the dying declaration was recorded and other surrounding
  3. The dying declaration must establish the identity of the
  4. A dying declaration must be scrutinised closely for it to pass the test of
  5. After examining the dying declaration, if it is found to suffer from any infirmities then such dying declarationcannot become the sole basis of

Judgement: The court found that there were no infirmities on the part of the dying declarations and these dying declarations had passed the tests laid down. Hence, the order of conviction was upheld against the accused.

Principle: “Dying Declaration can become the sole basis of conviction if it inspires the confidence of the court and is free from infirmities.”

Other Relevant Case Laws: In the case of Jaswant Singh v. State36 it was held that if the court is satisfied that the statement made is the truthful adaptation of the circumstances of the death and with respect to the identification of the accused, then no further corroboration would be necessary for the dying declaration to be the sole basis of conviction.

In NallapatiSivaiah v. Sub-Divisional Officer, Guntur37, the court held that it would be wrong to place reliance solely on the dying declaration when there are suspicions regarding the truthfulness of it, even if it was recorded by the magistrate. For admissibility of such doubtful evidence, corroboration is needed.

4.4  THE DECLARANT MUST BE IN A FIT STATE OF MIND

LallubhaiDevchand Shah and Ors. v. The State of Gujarat38

Facts of the Case:

While on his death bed, the declarant Trilok Singh had given certain statements to the doctor which stated the accused as the assailants. Within minutes after making the statement, Trilok passed away.

Issue: Whether the victim was in a conscious state of mind while making the statements.

Analysis: “Fit state of mind” means that the deceased was consciously making his statement while understanding the implications of his words and it is imperative that the person recording the statement of the deceased is satisfied that the declarant was in a “fit state of mind.” The deceased had made the statement in the presence of his friends who spoke to him in his native language and it is not possible to say that this statement was made voluntarily or if statement was a result of tutoring. Additionally, the doctor didn’t ask the victim questions in order to check his state of mind.

Judgement: The court did not admit this dying declaration since the possibility that the dying declaration not made in a conscious state of mind and was a result of tutoring to could not be eliminated.

Principle: For the dying declaration to be admitted, it must be proven that the deceased was in a fit state of mind while making the statement.”

Other Cases: In the case of Prabin Ali v. State of Assam39, the oral dying declaration was made in the presence of family members and was made in a conscious state of mind. However, the doctor was not cross-examined regarding the mental state of the declarant. The court held the dying declaration to be credible and a basis for conviction.

In Laxmav. State of Maharashtra40, it was held that certification by doctor is not apre- requiste or a“sine qua non” for admitting the Dying Declaration.

4.5  INFIRMITIES IN THE DYING DECLARATION

  1. Ramachandra Reddy v. Public Prosecutor41

Facts of the Case:

The deceased was assaulted. After the assailants ran away, the deceased disclosed the incident to his son and then went to the hospital, where a dying declaration was recorded by the magistrate in the hospital. The son of the deceased also made acomplaint and an FIR was registered for the same.

Issue: Whether the dying declaration could be relied upon?

Analysis: The conviction can be based on the dying declaration if the Court is satisfied that itis true and voluntary. Despite the opportunities the deceased had, he did not reveal the names of the accused till he was with his cousin in the hospital. The court finding infirmities in the dying declaration stated that it was a wholly unreliable evidence.42

Judgement: The accused were acquitted since the Dying Declaration couldn’t be stated to be true and voluntary and hence it could not form the basis of conviction.

Principle: “The court must carefully scrutinise the dying declaration and must ensure that it is not the result of prompting, or tutoring or imagination.”

4.6  PRINCIPLES REGARDING SECTION 32(1)

SharadBirdhichandSarda v. State of Maharastra43

Facts of the Case: A newly married women had died due to administration of poison and three persons including her own husband were accused of commission of this offence. The court relied upon certain letters allegedly written by the deceased stating her distress along with a medical report and statements given by witnesses. The high court acquitted two of the accused but not the appellant.

Issues: Whether the dying declaration had close proximity to the “cause of the death”in order to implicate the appellant?

Analysis: The Supremecourthighlighted certain principles which had emerged with respect to the application of Section 32(1) of Evidence Act:

  1. Section 32(1) is an exception to the rule of hearsaywhich states such evidence which cannot be cross-examined is rendered useless in the eyes of the law. However a dying declaration is an exception since a person is not expected to lie on the verge of death and hence makes the statement of the person who dies
  2. The test of proximity which is laid down should not be construed too literally or else it will hamper practical application. The time interval between the dying declaration and the death is bound to vary from case to
  3. Section 32 includes death caused by suicide as well and is not limited to just It is irrelevant if the death was a result of suicide or homicide as long as the statement made by the declarant relates to the “cause of death” or if it shows the “circumstances are forming part of the transaction of death”.
  1. As long as themain evidence for dying declaration is so well connected with the cause of the death that it reveals a tell-tale story, the evidence would fall under section 32(1)

Judgement: The court after scrutiny of the evidence held that the statements given by the witnesses andthe letters written by the declarant were inadmissible as dying declaration since they were too remote from the cause of death to implicate the appellant.

Principle: “The dying declaration should display direct connectivity with or relate to the death of the deceased and reveal a tell-tale story in order to be admissible under section 32(1).”

4.7  SUMMARY OF LEADING GUIDELINES

Paniben v. State of Gujrat44

Facts of the Case: When the victim was sleeping, someone poured kerosene and burned her. She was taken to the hospital and then the police and magistrate recorded the dying declarations where she stated that her mother-in-law had burned her. In total three dying declarations were recorded. The trial court had acquitted the mother-in-law but the high court reversed this order of acquittal.

Issue: Whether there were infirmities in the three dying declarations and the order of conviction was to be reversed?

Analysis: The Court summarised principles laid down in the previous judgements and scrutinizedthe three dying declarations on the basis of:

  1. Dying declaration can form the basis of conviction without corroboration in case the court is satisfied that it is voluntary and true45
  2. If there is suspicion with regards to the dying declaration, then it should not be acted upon without corroborative 46
  1. If it is proved that the deceasedwas unconscious then it would not possible to make a dying declaration, and hence the evidence with regard to it would be 47
  2. In case of infirmities, the dying declaration cannot be the basis of 48
  3. A statement cannot be rejected solely on the ground that it was 49
  4. A declaration cannot be acted upon if the prosecution version of it differs from the version in the dying 50
  5. If eye witness find thedeclarantto be in a fit conscious state at the time of giving the dying declaration, then the medical opinion on it does not 51
  6. In case of multiple dying declarations, the first one must be preferred but if all the dying declarations are coherent and therefore trustworthy and reliable then it will be 52
  7. The dying declaration cannot be rejected merely because it does not include the details with regards to the 53

Judgement: The Court found that the dying declarations could be the basis of conviction since they did not possess any infirmities and were coherent with the guidelines laid down.

4.8  DYING DECLARATION CAN BE IN THE FORM OF FIR

State of Karnataka v. Shariff54

Facts of the Case:

The declarant gave her statement that the accused had burned her, in the form of a complaint to sub-inspectors in the presence of the doctor. However the dying declaration was not recorded in the “question-answer” form but was narrative.Though there was time, the magistrate was not called upon.

Issue: Can the FIR be treated as a dying declaration?

Analysis: The doctor found her to be conscious and in a “fit state of mind” while making the statements. Relying on a number of precedents the court stated that it was not necessary for the dying declaration to be in question-answer form and a narrative form was much more elaborate and detailed. Also, the law does not mandatethat only a magistrate can record a dying declaration.

Judgement: The court held that the FIR could be treated as dying declaration and it cannot be discarded merely because it was recorded by a police officer and not a magistrate.

Principle: A corroborated and clear dying declaration cannot be disregarded merely because it was recorded by Police.

In Jay Prakash v. State of Haryana55, though the dying declaration which was recorded as a police complaint was notaccompanied with a mental fitness certificate, the court considered the dying declaration as the basis of conviction since it was corroborated.

In Bhagirath v. State of Haryana,56the Supreme Court opined that it was not necessary that at the time of making of the statement, it was with the intention of being used as a dying declaration. The victim had registered the case with the police and had given his statements but before the magistrate could record the dying declaration, the victim passed away.

4.9  MULTIPLE DYING DECLARATIONS

Sudhakar v. State of M.P57

Facts of the Case:

In this case multiple dying declarations were given. In the first dying declaration that the woman gave to the tehsildar at the hospital, she said that her burns were a result of an accident. However, the second time she made the statement to the tehsildar, she implicated her husband of setting her ablaze after pouring kerosene on her. The doctor certified that the declarant was in a “fit state of mind” while making the statement. In the third statement which she made to the police, she reiterated the same dying declaration.

Issue: In case of multiple dying declarations, some of which are contradictory, can any of the dying declarations be relied upon?

Analysis: The first dying declaration was made in the presence of her relatives and the declarant had informed the tehsildar that she was tutored by her husband while she was giving the first dying declaration. The court stipulated that in case of multiple dying declarations some of which are contradictory to each other, the test would be to find out which dying declarations could be corroborated by other prosecution evidence. In addition to this, other aspects must also be present which satisfy the court of the genuineness of the dying declaration such as having a “fit state of mind” while giving the dying declaration.

Judgement: The court found the second and the third dying declarations to be in conformity with each other and duly corroborated and hence could beused as the basis of conviction.

Principle:In case of multiple dying declarations, some of which are contradictory to each other, the court must see which dying declarations are in conformity with other prosecution evidence to and inspire the confidence of the court.

4.10 ADMISSIBILIBITY OF DYING DECLARATION AGAINST DEATH OF ANOTHER

TejramPatil v. State of Maharshtra58

Facts of the Case:

The prosecution’s side stated that on the day of Savita’s death, her husband had returned home in a drunken state and he started to abuse Savita and her mother. The husband lit Savita ablaze and while trying to save her, the mother and another witness endured injuries. The statements of all three-Savita, her mother and the witness were recorded in the hospital. Due to the burn injuries sustained, Savitaand her mother passed away.

Issue: Whether the statement given by the mother with regards to the incident could be admissible as her daughter’s dying declaration?

Analysis: The dying declaration is admissible in relation to the “cause of death” of the individual making the statement as well as in relation to “circumstances of the transaction that resulted in the death” of that individual. But it is not just limited to that; the dying declaration of the person can also be made admissible against the death of another person as long as the circumstances of that person’s death are integrally connected with the death of another person.

Judgment: The statements made by Savita’s mothercould be admissible as her daughter’s dying declaration along with her own.

Principle: The dying declaration of one person may be admissible as against another in case the circumstances of death of such person and ‘another’ are so integrally connected.

CHAPTER V: CONCLUSION AND ANALYSIS

Upon close analysis of the case laws, the principles associated with the concept of dying declarations and its admissibility in criminal cases can be illustrated as follows:

  1. Evidentiary value of a dying declaration is not weaker than
  2. A dying declaration recorded by persons other than the Magistrate can be admissible in the court of law after
  3. Gestures fall under the ambit of ‘verbal statements’ and hence are a valid form of dying
  4. The dying declarations should be scrutinised in order to pass the test of
  5. A dying declaration must lead to the identification of the accused and should include the circumstances which are proximate to the cause of death. However, the test of proximity should not be construed too literally or
  6. If the dying declaration can be corroborated by the other evidence in a manner that it tells a tale, then it can be said to be proximate.
  1. It can be the sole basis of conviction as long as it is free from infirmities and inspires the confidence of the
  2. A dying declaration is wholly unreliable if it is not made voluntarily or is a result of tutoring or prompting or
  3. A medical certificate with regards to the mental state of the declarant is not an essential requirement to prove the fit state of mind as long as it is apparent from other evidence that the declarant was in a fit state of mind to identify the accused/ assailants.
  1. The court should not disregard the multiple dying declarations merely because there was some Instead it should utilise the prosecution evidence to corroborate and check if any of the dying declarations inspires the confidence of the court.
  2. A dying declaration in the form of a complaint or FIR can be admissible in the
  3. Section 32(1) is applicable to suicide cases in the same manner as it is to homicide
  4. While making the statement it is not necessary that it was made with the intent of being used as a dying
  5. The dying declaration of one person may be admissible as against another, in case the circumstances of death of both the persons form part of the same

These are the certain basic guidelines which are utilised by courts while checking the admissibility of dying declarations. It is apparent that the list of guidelines is not exhaustive. All the guidelines and principles till date in relation to dying declaration cannot be listed out owing to the enormity of this concept. The principles which are to be applied in a particular case for the scrutiny of the dying declaration are dependent on the facts of a case.

Criticism: Some of the guidelines given in few of the cases seem to be contradictory to the precedents. However, this could be regarded as the evolution of the concept where the strict application of the admissibility of dying declaration is relaxed.

CHAPTER VI: CONCLUSIOn

The law relating to Dying Declarations has not been strictly confined within statutory limits but instead the courts have been given the liberty to analyse and appreciate the evidence based on the circumstances of the case since a lot of factors need to be considered. The concept of dying declaration in Indian law has a wider scope and application than in English law. The biggest difference being that English law requires the declaration to be admissible only in the case that the declarant was in a state of imminent danger or was on the verge of death while making the statement. The lack of evidence often results in the benefit of doubt to the accused and he/she is acquitted. In India, a lot of people also refrain from being a witness in the court of law. The need for broadening the scope of applicability in India is for the purpose of strengthening the evidence and increasing the possibility of conviction.

With a broad scope, the Indian law is mindful while admitting and appreciating a dying declaration and has laid down elaborate guidelines for ensuring that only the dying declaration which inspires the confidence of the court can be used as the basis of conviction. The only suggestion with regards to this is identification of the most relevant precedents in the present times should be acknowledged by the Supreme Court since the dying declarations now present the possibility of being electronically recorded as well.

1 Student at Symbiosis Law School, Hyderabad

2Indian Evidence Act 1872 §32.

3Id.

4Indian Evidence Act 1872 §8.

5Indian Evidence Act 1872 §32(1).

6Uka Ram v. State of Rajasthan, 1998 Cri LR 725 (Raj).

7PV Radhakrishna v. State of Karnataka, AIR 2003 SC 2859.

8Indian Evidence Act 1872 §60.

9See supra note 6.

10Indian Evidence Act 1872 §60.

11Sudhakar v. State of MP, AIR 2012 SC 3265.

12KhushalRaov. State Of Bombay, AIR 1958 SC 22.

13Tapinder Singh v. State of Punjab, AIR 1970 SC 1566. 14RambihariYadav v. State of Bihar, AIR 1998 SC 1850. 15PakalaNarainSwamy v. Emperor, (1939) 41 BOMLR 428. 16INDIAN CONST. art. 141.

17Patel HiraLal v. State of Gujarat, AIR2000 SC 2944.

18Chalianadan v. Rex AIR 1942 Mad. 450.

19NajjamFaraghi v. State of West Bengal AIR 1998 SC 682; Amar Singh v. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1989 SC 702.

20Abdul Sattar v. State of Mysore, AIR 1956 SC 168.

21See Supra note 13.

22BATUKLAL, THE LAW OF EVIDENCE (22nd Ed. Central Law Agency, 2018).

23MukundSarda, D.S. Chopra, CASES AND MATERIALS ON EVIDENCE LAW (2nd Ed. Thomson Reuters, 2015).

24DR. GOKULESH SHARMA,A MANUAL ON INDIAN EVIDENCE ACT 80 (Thomson Reuters, 2015).

25 Justice A.V.Chandrashekar, Dying Declaration – Its Applicability In Criminal Cases, National Informatics Centre,      https://kjablr.kar.nic.in/sites/kjablr.kar.nic.in/files/11.%20Dying%20Declaration%20-

%20Its%20applicability%20in%20Criminal%20Cases.pdf

26 MR Sreenivasa Murthy & K. Syamala, Do Dying Lips Always Speak the truth? Admissibility of Dying Declaration in case of Suicide, (2018) 2 SCC (Cri) J-22 SCC CRIMINAL (2018).

27[1898] A.W.N. 145.

28Supra note 13.

29AIR 1937 PC 24.

30AIR 2017 SC 2161.

31(1939) 41 BOMLR 428.

32Indian Evidence Act, 1872§106.

33Indian Evidence Act, 1872 §6.

341974 CriLJ 1200.

36AIR 1979 SC 190.

37(2007) SCC 465.

39AIR 2013 SC 542.

40AIR 2002 SC 2973.

42KhushalRao v. State Of Bombay, AIR 1958 SC 22.

44(1992) 2 SCC 474.

45State of Uttar Pradesh v. Ram SagarYadav& others, AIR 1985, SC 416.

46Rasheed Beg v. State of MP, 1974 (4) SCC 264.

47Kaka Singh v. State of MP, AIR 1982 SC 1021.

48Ram Manorath and Ors v. State of UP, AIR 1974 SC 332. 49SurajdeoOza and ors v. State of Bihar, AIR 1979 SC 1505. 50State of UP v. Madan Mohan and others, AIR 1989 SC 1519. 51Nanahau Ram and anr v. State of MP, AIR 1988 SC 912.

52MohanlalGangaramGehani v. State of Maharashtra, AIR 1982 SC 839.

53State of Maharashtra v. KrishnamurthiLaxmipati Naidu, AIR 1981 SC 617.

551999 Cri LJ 837 (SC).

56AIR 1997 SC 234.

582015 Cri LJ 1829.