The Plausibility of Dying Declaration under the Indian Evidence Act as an Exception to the Rule against Hearsay
Volume III, Issue VI, 2020
The Law of Evidence, compiled and consolidated in the Indian Evidence Act 1872, is one of the most efficacious stanchions fortifying the whole corpus juris of procedural law. This epoch-making pre-independent legislation which clarified the rules regarding the admissibility of evidence was essentially the contribution of the British Empire in India. Every case which comes before the court is a crusade for justice in which truth is the paramount quest. The most important role of a judge as a benefactor of justice is to seek and unravel the truth in respect of every case which comes before him. He applies his judicial mind to analyze the facts and sifts and weighs the grains of relevant facts to corroborate the narrative of the case. A dying declaration is a unique species of evidence as being the statement made by a man who is dead. There is, therefore, no occasion during the trial to consider the fidelity and detect falsehood of the dying declaration by the test of cross-examination. Moreover, the significance and the solemnity of the occasion in which a dying man speaks about the causes or circumstances leading to his death makes it extremely crucial for the judge to consider such a statement in evidence to impute criminal liability on the accused. This certainly invites judicial dichotomy as the mind of the judge is tossed between the need to consider the statement on the one side and the doubtfulness of basing conviction upon the dying declaration on the contrary side. The present article seeks to study the conditions under which a dying declaration can be admitted in evidence, the form and procedure of doing so and, also to reflect upon the judicial interpretations given by the courts in a plethora of cases relating to dying declarations which can act as a beckoning light for the trial judge to determine the guilt or innocence of the accused.
Keywords: Dying declaration, Doctrine of Necessity, Evidentiary value of dying declaration.