Question: Dying Declaration Question | A is alleged to have committed the murder of B by giving as many as 25 knife blows on the vital parts of the body. A is prosecuted for the murder of B under Section 302 I.P.C. During the trial, the prosecution produces the ‘Dying declaration’ of Bin which he (B) had clearly… Read More »

Question: Dying Declaration Question | A is alleged to have committed the murder of B by giving as many as 25 knife blows on the vital parts of the body. A is prosecuted for the murder of B under Section 302 I.P.C. During the trial, the prosecution produces the ‘Dying declaration’ of Bin which he (B) had clearly stated that the various injuries caused in his body were the result of knife blows of A. In prosecution also proved that a number of persons were present when deceased B made...

Question: Dying Declaration Question | A is alleged to have committed the murder of B by giving as many as 25 knife blows on the vital parts of the body. A is prosecuted for the murder of B under Section 302 I.P.C. During the trial, the prosecution produces the ‘Dying declaration’ of Bin which he (B) had clearly stated that the various injuries caused in his body were the result of knife blows of A. In prosecution also proved that a number of persons were present when deceased B made the dying declaration.

On the other hand, the accused’s defence A produces the ‘medical report’ of the doctor as evidence in his favour. The ‘medical report’ shows that a person cannot remain alive and also in a conscious state for more than 10 minutes after receiving such injuries, especially while most of the injuries were on the vital parts of the body, whereas the dying declaration was made after one hour. Thus, the dying declaration is either false or not made in a conscious state of mind, hence not reliable.

So conviction cannot be based on dying declaration. However, the trial court convicted A, by making the ‘Dying declaration’ basis for conviction. Is the order of conviction passed by the trial court valid? Give reasons and also refer to case law, if any, on the point.

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites. Dying Declaration Question | [A is alleged to have committed the murder of B by giving as many as 25 knife blows on the vital parts of the body. A is prosecuted for the murder of B under Section 302 I.P.C…]

Answer

It is the rule of caution as per section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act that the court should be satisfied that the deceased was in a fit state of mind and capable of making a statement at the time when it was recorded. At the time of giving a declaration, the person who’s making the statement must be in a fit state of mind. If the court has the slightest doubt about the mental soundness of the maker of dying declaration, it is unsafe and unfair for the court to base its decision on such a statement.

It is true that a certificate from the doctor and endorsement from him that the victim was not only conscious but also in a fit condition to make statements is a must and in the absence of such a certificate, the declaration may be rendered heavily suspect.

However, the Supreme Court has also laid down in the landmark judgment of Laxman v. State of Maharashtra, 2002 Cr LJ 4095 (SC) that the absence of the medical certificate of fitness does not render a dying declaration to be unacceptable. What is essentially required is that the person who records it must be satisfied that the injured person was in a fit state of mind. The medical certificate is a rule of caution. Truthful dying declaration can be assured even otherwise

The mere fact that the victim in his dying declaration did not make any reference to injuries received by the accused is not a genuine ground that decides the merit of the dying declaration. Where the dying declaration was recorded by the doctor who himself certified that the patient was in a fit condition for giving the statement, his non-mentioning that the patient was in a fit mental condition and throughout remained conscious would be of no consequence.

In the case State of M.P. v. Dhirendra kumar[1996]. The mother-in-law of the deceased was in the position to reach the upstairs within 5 to 6 minutes after hearing the cry of the deceased. According to the opinion of the autopsy surgeon, the deceased was able to speak for about 10-15 minutes. The Supreme Court did not agree with the view of the High Court that the deceased is not in a position to make the dying declaration, as it was reaffirmed by the autopsy report and circumstances of the case that the deceased was in a fit state of mind to talk when her mother-in-law reached the place where the deceased was dying.

Whereas in the case State of Orissa v. Parasuram Naik [1997]. The accused, the husband was alleged that he poured petrol on the body of his wife and lit a fire whereof extensive burn injuries were sustained by the deceased wife. It was held that the oral dying declaration to her mother cannot be accepted because there was no certificate by the medical officer certifying that the deceased was medically fit to make a statement.

It is improper to reject the dying declaration on the ground that the fitness of the maker depends solely on the certificate of the doctor and the magistrate himself did not require independently as to whether the deceased was in a fit state to make a dying declaration.

In case Dhanraj and other v. State of Maharashtra [2002]. The dying declaration was challenged on the ground that no medical certificate was attached to the condition of the deceased. However, the deceased went to the hospital all alone by changing different vehicles in the way. The statement of the doctor and magistrate was on record to indicate that the deceased was in a fit state of mind to give a statement. Such circumstances can be used as supporting evidence about the mental condition of the deceased.

Overruling some earlier cases to the contrary effect a Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court in Laxman v. State of Maharashtra [AIR 2002 SC 2973] speaking through PATTANAIK J. adopted the view that the absence of the certificate of the doctor as to the fitness of mind of the injured person would not render his dying declaration to be unacceptable. The court said that what is essentially required is that the person who records the statement must be satisfied that the injured person was in a fit state of mind. Certification by the doctor is only a rule of caution. But voluntary and truthful nature of the statement can be established otherwise.

Therefore, in the present case at hand, not considering the medical report of the doctor in the accused favour, the court rejected the contention of the accused that conviction cannot be based on the dying declaration of the deceased. The trial court convicted A, by making the ‘Dying declaration’ basis for conviction and such order is valid because certification by doctor is merely a rule of caution and cannot form the basis to reject the dying declaration of the deceased which was made in presence of several persons pointing towards guilt of the accused. Hence, the conviction order of the accused by the trial court stands valid.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-I
  2. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-II
  3. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-III
  4. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IV
  5. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-V
  6. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VI
  7. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VII
  8. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-VIII
  9. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-IX
  10. Law of Evidence Mains Questions Series Part-X
Updated On 2021-10-07T11:43:38+05:30
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