Need not pick incriminatory dying declaration, rules Supreme Court

K.M. Joseph.

K.M. Joseph.  

‘It’s for the court to find out which version is true’


In a case of divergent and multiple dying declarations, the court need not invariably pick the one that incriminates the accused person. Instead, it is for the court to find out which of the dying victim’s statement is true, the Supreme Court said in a recent judgment.

Divergent declarations

“When there are divergent dying declarations, it is not the law that the court must invariably prefer the statement which is incriminatory and must reject the statement which does not implicate the accused. The real point is to ascertain which contains the truth,” a Bench of Justices S.K. Kaul and K.M. Joseph observed.

The judgment was based on an appeal filed by a CRPF staffer convicted of murder and criminal intimidation. In 2008, he was accused of pouring kerosene over his wife and setting her ablaze.

Appeal dismissed

She gave two dying declarations. The first one did not implicate him. In the second one, she pointed the finger at him. The trial court convicted him and the Delhi High Court dismissed his appeal.

Confirming the lower courts’ decisions and cancelling his bail, Justice Joseph, writing for the Bench, reiterated the law that “any statement made by a person as to the cause of his death or to any circumstance of the transaction which resulted in his death would be relevant”.

Cannot be brushed aside

The judgment said, “Once it is proved that such statement is made by the deceased then it cannot be brushed aside on the basis that it is not elaborate or that it was not recorded in a particular fashion.”

Countering arguments that dying declarations could also be a result of “imagination running wild”, the apex court concluded that nothing in the case established the contention.

“In fact, there is no material before us to hold that the dying declaration is a creation of her imagination,” it observed.

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Printable version | Mar 28, 2020 4:54:03 PM |

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