SC explains the bench mark for admissibility of a dying declaration

supreme court front view law insider in
supreme court front view law insider in


The Supreme Court bench of Justices Navin Sinha and Krishan Murari held that there cannot be any rigid standard or yardstick for acceptance or rejection of a dying declaration.

The bench was hearing a thirty-year-old case in which the woman succumbed to 95% burn injuries.

Delivering justice in the said case became tough owing to lack of no eye-witnesses and the case of prosecution was merely based on circumstantial evidence and dying declaration of the deceased.

The apex court noted the dying declaration failed to inspire confidence, thereby acquitting the husband and sister-in-law.

The Court remarked, “It vacillated between blaming the husband and the sister-in-law, coupled with the absence of any certificate by the doctor that the deceased was in a fit state of mind when she made the dying declaration”.

The Court perused admissibility of dying declaration under Section 32 of the Evidence Act, 1827 and explained that it is strong enough to alone establish the ground for conviction if it is made voluntarily and inspires confidence.

The Court further held that the Doctor who recorded the statement has not been examined and mere recognition of his signature by the record clerk of the hospital doesn’t establish his truthfulness.

The deceased’s statement recorded by the Assistant sub-inspector blamed the sister-in-law alone, states that she was brought to the hospital by the husband and makes no disclosure of any dowry demand.

Concluding that the veracity of the dying declaration remains suspicious, the Court held, “It would not be safe to simply reject the probable defence of suicide, to reverse the acquittal and convict the respondents”.

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