Section 32 of Indian Evidence Act provides exception to the principle of excluding hearsay evidence. The principle behind is that a person who has the first hand knowledge of facts of a case, but who, because of death, disability etc is not capable of being present before the court, then his knowledge should be transmitted to the court through some other individual; the individual who has shared the knowledge of that person will be treated as the best evidence. Thus, necessity and convenience are the underlying ground for this.
Dying Declaration [Section 32(1)]
This section states when the statement is stated by a person as to the case of his own death or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which ended with his death, in those cases where the cause of that person’s death comes into question. Those statements made by the person are relevant whether he who made them was or not, under the expectation of death at the time of making the statement. Those statements are relevant whatever is the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death came into question.
A dying declaration is admissible is civil as well as criminal proceedings and they are admissible even if the trial is not for a death of a person. It covers suicide cases also. The statement made will be relevant even if no cause of death had arisen at the time of the making of the statement. It is also not necessary that the deceased should have completed his sentence.
Q. Why Dying declaration is admissible?
– A dying declaration made by a person on the death bed has a special sanctity because at that solemn moment that person is very unlikely to make any statement which is false. The person is facing imminent death, so every motive of falsehood is obliterated, mind is influenced by power of ethics to speak only the truth and great sanctity is attached to the words of a dying person because a person at the verge of death is not likely to tell lies. It is bases on Latin Maxim “Nemo moriturus praesumitur mentire” ( A man will never meet his creator with a lie in his mouth).
Evidentiary value of Dying Declaration :-
Dying declaration like any other evidence has to be tested on the touchstone of credibility to be acceptable because accused does not get an opportunity of questioning veracity of the statement by cross examination.
As there is no rule of law that dying declaration made by an individual should not be acted upon unless corroborated by some other evidence. Dying declaration is subjected to a close scrutiny normally as it is not considered safe to convict an individual only on the basis of it as it is hearsay evidence.