Supreme Court of India Clarifies Principles on Accepting Dying Declarations as Evidence

Landmark Judgment Law Insider (1)

Published on: June 01, 2024 19:13 IST

Court: Supreme Court of India

Case: Rajendra v. State of Maharashtra 2024

Honourable Supreme Court of India has held the following principles governing acceptance of dying declaration

  1. it cannot be laid down as an absolute rule of law that a dying declaration cannot form the sole basis of conviction unless it is corroborated.
  2. Each case must be determined on its own facts, keeping in view the circumstances in which the dying declaration was made.
  3. It cannot be laid down as a general proposition that a dying declaration is a weaker kind of evidence than other pieces of evidence.
  4. Dying declaration stands on the same footing as another piece of evidence. It has to be judged in the light of surrounding circumstances and with reference to the principles governing weighing of evidence.
  5. Dying declaration which has been recorded by a competent Magistrate in the proper manner stands on a much higher footing than a dying declaration which depends upon oral testimony which may suffer from all the infirmities of human memory and human character.
  6. In order to test the reliability of a dying declaration, the court has to keep in view various circumstances including the condition of the person concerned to make such a statement; that it has been made at the earliest opportunity and was not the result of tutoring by interested parties.

35. As already discussed above, there is no reason for us to doubt the correctness of the dying declaration of the deceased (Ex. 59) which has been proved in evidence. Attending doctor has certified that the deceased was capable of narrating her statement. The substance of the dying declaration is also borne out by the medical history of the patient recorded by the doctor which has also been proved in evidence. Further, though there are inconsistencies and improvements in the version of the prosecution witnesses, there is however convergence with the core of the narration of the deceased made in the dying declaration and the medical history recorded by the doctor. That being the position, the evidence on record, particularly Ex. 59, clearly establishes the guilt of the appellant beyond all reasonable doubt.

Drafted By Abhijit Mishra

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