Case laws related to dying declaration under Indian Evidence Act
Important judgements relating to dying declaration.

In a judicial system, in order to meet the ends of justice, judicial precedent has always been one of the important sources of law. These judicial precedents or case laws are an essential part of every legal system throughout the world. And its roots are driven from the common law system.

In this law note, we will discuss important case laws relating to dying declaration under section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. These case laws or legal studies are essential to understand the fundamental concept of dying declaration and its admissibility in the court of law in various circumstances.

Before going to the case laws, let us briefly examine what dying declaration is.

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What Is Dying Declaration?

According to section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, a statement, either oral or written, made by a person explaining the cause of his death or the circumstances of the transaction which caused his death is known as a dying declaration.

In simple words, when a person is about to die, he makes a statement or a declaration which explains the cause of his death or the circumstances which caused his death. This is called a dying declaration.

You can learn more about this topic in detail on our dedicated law note: Dying Declaration Under the Indian Evidence Act

Recent Case Laws Related to Dying Declaration

Here are some of the important recent Indian cases related to dying declaration:

Dalip Singh and Others vs State of Punjab, AIR 1953 SC 364

In this case, the court held that a dying declaration made to a police officer is relevant.

Sharad Birdhi Chand Sarda vs State of Maharashtra, AIR 1984 SC 1622

In this case, the court held that in normal circumstances, a suicide note cannot be used as the sole basis for conviction. It must be corroborated with other substantive pieces of evidence (strong pieces of evidence).

Kamla vs State of Punjab, AIR 1992 SC 374

In this case, the court held that when there are multiple dying declarations made by one or several persons and they are inconsistent with each other, such dying declarations must be corroborated with each other and be examined in light of other circumstantial evidence.

Sampat Babso Kale vs State of Maharashtra (2019, 4 SCC 739)

In this case, the court held that when there is a doubt as to the veracity (accuracy, truthfulness, conformity of facts) of any dying declaration, that whether the victim was in the fit state of mind to make the statement; then in such a case, the dying declaration cannot be treated as a sole basis for conviction. It must be corroborated with some other evidence too.

SCC in the case name means Supreme Court Cases.

Jayamma vs State of Karnataka, AIR 2021 SC 2399

In this case, the Supreme Court held that a dying declaration is not admissible as the sole basis for conviction unless corroborated with witness statements, facts, and circumstances of the case.

Landmark Judgements Related to Dying Declaration

These are some of the old and landmark cases related to dying declaration under the Indian Evidence Act:

Queen Empress vs Abdullah (1885, ILR 7 ALL 385)

In this case, the accused cut the throat of the deceased girl, due to which she couldn’t speak. Therefore, she indicated her finger towards the person who cut her throat. The Allahabad High Court held that no particular form of recording of statements is prescribed. Therefore, a dying declaration can either be in the form of an oral statement, written, gesture, or other, if any. Any dying declaration made through signs and nods is also relevant.

Pakala Narayana Swami vs Emperor, AIR 1939 PC 47

A box containing a dead body was found in the third coach of the train. After a few days, the wife recognised the dead body to be of her husband, who is no more. During the trial, the wife told the court that her deceased husband had told her several times about the letter obtaining the amount of the loan. Also, when she last met her husband, he informed his wife that he was going to collect the money and that he was threatening him not to give back the borrowed money.

The court held that the statement made by the deceased to his wife when he was going to collect money from some person was admissible as a dying declaration under section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act.

Kushal Rao vs State of Bombay, AIR 1958 SC 22

In this case, the court observed that it is not an absolute law nor is it the law of prudence that a dying declaration cannot be made as a sole basis of conviction. If a dying declaration is recorded by a competent authority in a proper manner and the court is satisfied with the veracity of such a dying declaration, then such a dying declaration can be considered as the sole basis of conviction. In such cases, a dying declaration is treated as a substantive (considerable) piece of evidence.

Maqsoodan vs State of Uttar Pradesh (1983) 1 SCC 218

In this case, the court held that if the declarant of any statement survives, then his statement cannot be used as a dying declaration under section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act. However, it can be used for the purpose of corroboration under section 157 of the Evidence Act and for contradiction under section 145 of the Evidence Act.

Uka Ram vs State of Rajasthan, AIR 2001 SC 1814

In this case, the Supreme Court held that a person would not die with the lie on his lips because he had to meet the supreme power of this world, that is, God. The court further observed that the sense of imminent death produces in men’s minds the same feeling as that of a righteous man under oath; therefore, the chances of falsehood are totally nullified.

Conclusion

The above judicial precedents conclude one or the other important aspects of the concept of the dying declaration. It clarifies certain factual and circumstantial rules to be interpreted as per certain situations of the case.

Read Next:
1. What Is Hearsay Evidence Under the Indian Evidence Act
2. What Is Refreshing Memory Under the Indian Evidence Act
3. 5 Differences Between Relevancy and Admissibility

Ankita Soni
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