A dying declaration not being a deposition in Court, neither made on oath nor in the presence of the accused and therefore not tested by cross-examination is yet admissible in evidence as an exception to the general rule against the admissibility of hearsay. The admissibility is founded on the principle of necessity. The weak points of a serve to put the Court on its guard while testing its reliability and impose on the Court an obligation to closely scrutinise all the relevant attendant circumstances. (See Tapinder Singh vs. State of Punjab, (1971) 1 SCJ 871. One of the important tests of the reliability of the dying declaration is a finding arrived at by the Court as to satisfaction that the deceased was in a fit state of mind and capable of making a statement at the point of time when the dying declaration purports to have been made and/or recorded. The statement may be brief or longish. It is not the length of the statement but the fit state of mind of the victim to narrate the facts of occurrence which has relevance. If the Court finds that the capacity of the maker of the statement to narrate the facts was impaired or the Court entertains grave doubts whether the deceased was in a fit physical and mental state to make the statement the Court may in the absence of corroborative evidence lending assurance to the contents of the declaration refuse to act on it. In Bhagwan Das vs. State of Rajasthan, AIR 1957 SC 589 : (1957 Cri LJ 889) the learned Sessions Judge found inter alia that it was improbable if the maker of the dying declaration was able to talk so as to make a statement. This Court while upholding the finding of the learned Sessions Judge held the dying-declaration by itself insufficient for sustaining a conviction on a charge of murder. In Kake Singh alias Surendra Singh vs. State of M.P., AIR 1982 SC 1021 : (1982 Cri LJ 986) the dying declaration was refused to be acted upon when there was no specific statement by the doctor that the deceased after being burnt was conscious or could have made coherent statement. In Darshan Singh vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1983 SC 554 : (1983 Cri LJ 985) this Court found that the deceased could not possibly have been in a position to make any kind of intelligible statement and therefore said that the dying declaration could not be relied on for any purpose and had to be excluded from consideration. In Mahar Singh vs. State of Punjab, AIR 1981 SC 1578 : (1981 Cri LJ 998) the dying declaration was recorded by the Investigating Officer. This Court excluded the same from consideration for failure of the Investigating Officer to get the dying declaration attested by the doctor who was alleged to be present in the hospital or any one else present.
Categories: Statutory Interpretation