DYING DECLARATION

Cases in which statements of relevant facts by person who is dead or cannot be found,etc is relevant[section 32]

A statement (written or verbal) of relevent facts made by a person
1. Who is dead,
2. who cannot be found,
3. who has become incapable of giving evidence, or,
4. whose attendance cannot be procured without unreasonable delay or expense,
is relevent under the following circumstances :
1. When it relates to the cause of his death.
2. When it is made in the course of business, such as an entry in books, or acknowledgement of the receipt of any property, or date of a document.
3. When it is against the pecuniary or proprietary interest of the person making it or when it would’ve exposed him to a criminal prosecution.
4. When it gives opinion as to a public right/custom/matters of general interest.
5. When it relates to the existence of any relationship between persons as to whose relationship the maker had special means of knowledge.
6. When it relates to the existence of any relationship between persons deceased and is made in any will or deed or family pedigree etc.
7. When it is contained in any deed, will or other document relating to transaction mentioned in sec.13 (a).
8. When it is made by several persons and expresses feelings relevant to matter in question.
Sec. 32 provides an exception to the principle of excluding hearsay evidence.
The principal behind is that a person who has the first-hand knowledge of the facts of a case, but who, because of death, disability, etc. is not able to appear before the court, then his knowledge should be transmitted to the court through some other person; the person who has shared the knowledge of that person will be considered as the best evidence. Thus, necessity and convenience are the underlying grounds.

Before statements can be admitted under this section, it must be proved that the makers of these statements are either dead or for any other reason are not available as witnesses. When a statement is admitted under any of the eight clause of the section, it is substantive evidence, and has to be considered along with other evidence.

Dying declaration [section 32(1)]
Principal: Sec 32(1) incorporates the principle of English law relating to what are popularly known as Dying declaration. A ‘dying declaration’ means the statement of a person who has died (by way of homicide or suicide) explaining the cause or circumstances of his death. As the person is dead, the statement before the court would be ‘heresay’ which is excluded for the reasons that party against whom it is used has no opportunity of cross-examining the original source, and it is not delivered under an oath.

Basic: sec. 32 is an exception to the hearsay rule. The three main grounds on which the dying declarations are admitted are:
• Death of the declarant
• Necessity (only evidence available under the circumstances): the victim being generally the only eye-witness to the crime, the exclusion of his statement would tend to defeat the ends of justice, and
• The sense of impending death, which creates a sanction equal to the obligation of an oath. Nemo moriturus presumuntur mentri (no one when about to die is presumed to lie). Mathew Arnold said, “Truth sits up on the lips of dying man”.

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