“Truth sits on the lips of a person who is about to die” Introduction
A Dying Declaration means the statement of a person who has died explaining the circumstances of his death. It can be said to be a statement made by a mortally injured person, indicating who has injured them and/or the circumstances surrounding their injury. The injured is aware that he/she is about to die and while the declaration is hearsay, it is admissible since it is believed that the dying person does not have any reason to lie. Such a statement can be proved when it is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death. The statement will be relevant in every case or proceeding in which the cause of that person's death comes into question. Clause (1) of section 32 of the Evidence Act provides for the ‘dying declaration’ which is incorporated from the English Law principle. Section 32(1) reads as under: 32. Cases in which statement of relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc., is relevant.- Statements, written or verbal, of relevant facts made by a person who is dead, or who cannot be found, or who has become incapable of giving evidence, or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which, under the circumstances of the case, appears to the Court unreasonable, are themselves relevant facts in the following cases:- (1) When it relates to cause of death- When the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that person's death comes into question. Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question. Illustration:
(a) The question is, whether A was murdered by B; or
A dies of injuries received in a transaction in the course of which she was ravished. The question is, whether she was ravished by B; or The question is, whether A was killed by B under such circumstances that a suit would lie against B by A's widow. Statements made by A as to the cause of his or her death, referring respectively to the murder, the rape, and the actionable wrong under consideration, are relevant facts. If as a result thereof, the Court is satisfied that the statement made by a person who is now dead is relevant, the same becomes admissible in terms of Sub-section, (1) of Section 32 of the Evidence Act. As to be cause of his death
Under Section 32(1), the statement of an injured person who subsequently dies, will be relevant only if it is made by him as to the cause of his death. It must not relate to the cause of death of any other person’s death. In a case, the accused was charged with the murder. One of the piece of evidence against him was the statement of deceased’s sister, who also died subsequently. As a result of her statement, the victim’s dead body was recovered. The question was whether her statement was relevant? The Supreme Court held that it was not admissible under section 32(1) as it did not relate to the cause of her own death but to that of her sister. Similarly, the declarant’s death must be proved beyond doubt to have been caused by the injuries received by him in the incident in question. In case it is proved that he died of some other cause, it would not be admissible under clause (1) of section 32. For example, the prisoner was convicted on the basis of dying declaration of a person who received two shot wounds during the occurrence. Although his dying declaration was recorded, but he died 20 days after he had left the hospital. There was no evidence to show that he died of the injuries received by him at the said incident. On the question of admissibility of the dying declaration, the Supreme...