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 As a piece of evidence, Dying declaration is now fairly crystal clear by judicial decisions. The importance of Dying declaration as a piece of convincing evidence is increasing with the escalation of cases, wherein the Dying declaration laid the foundations for prosecution. Notwithstanding that there may be no direct and ocular evidence to prove a crime, a dying declaration may be self speaking and prove much more than eye witnesses could depose. Truly said, men may lie but not the circumstances. It is as good as any other piece of evidence and it is sacrosanct.

A dying declaration is the morality or religious condition of the dying man, Truth sits on the lips of a dying man who has a sense of impending death. But if the dying man was under no expectation of death, could it be presumed that even then his religious or moral fiber would get strengthened impelling him to speak the truth. It is strongly felt that it is not always the case. Truth would sit on the lips of a dying man only if he is under expectation of death.

A Dying Declaration made by a person on the verge of his death has a special sanctity, as at that solemn moment, a person is most unlikely to make any untrue statement. The sanctity attached to Dying Declaration is that a person on the verge of death would not commit sin in implementing somebody falsely. The shadow of impending death is by itself guarantee of the truth of the statement of the deceased regarding circumstances leading to his death. The general principle on which this species evidence is admitted is that they are declarations made in extremity, when the person is at point of death and when every hope of this world is gone. At that point of time every motive to falsehood is silenced and the mind is induced by the most powerful consideration to speak the truth. Such a Solemn situation is considered by the law as creating an obligation equal to which is imposed by a positive oath administered in a court of justice.

A Dying Declaration is a weak kind of evidence because the accused do not get any opportunity to cross-examine the declarant. Uncrossed version of the declarant is thrust upon the accused and they could be held guilty of the crime alleged in the declaration. Under these circumstances, the courts are expected to be very cautious and circumspect in accepting the dying declaration. Therefore, the hypothesis put forward by the researcher is found to be true. The dying declarations are weak kind of evidence even though they are based on the principle that a person would not die with a lie in his mouth.

A Dying Declaration enjoys almost a sacrosanct status as a piece of evidence, coming as it does from the mouth of the deceased victim. The Dying declaration if found to be true and free from any effort to induce the deceased to make a false statement and if it is coherent and consistent, there is no legal impediment to form such Dying declaration as basis of conviction even though there is corroboration. But once the statement of Dying person and the evidence of the witnesses testifying the same passes the test of careful scrutiny of the courts, it becomes very important and reliable piece of evidence and if the court is satisfied that the dying declaration is true and free from any embellishment such a Dying Declaration by itself can be sufficient for recording conviction even without looking for conviction. Therefore, the second hypothesis put forward by the researcher is found to be true. It cannot be sole basis of conviction; it has to pass through a reliability test which would be the duty of the court itself through a careful scrutiny.

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Category Criminal Law, Other Articles by - G. ARAVINTHAN 


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