Team Blitz India
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has said that if there is any suspicion over the veracity of the dying declaration or the evidence on record shows that it is not true, then it will only be considered as a piece of evidence and cannot be the sole basis for conviction.
While considering a criminal appeal, a Bench of Justices BR Gavai, JB Pardiwala and Prashant Kumar Mishra acquitted a person who was convicted and sentenced to death for burning his son and two brothers to death on the basis of statements made by the deceased before dying.
The Bench said that courts are required to satisfy themselves that the dying declaration is reliable and truthful before placing any reliance upon it.
“There is no hard and fast rule for determining when a dying declaration should be accepted; the duty of the court is to decide this question in the facts and surrounding circumstances of the case and be fully convinced of the truthfulness of the same,” it said.
The Supreme Court said that factors like whether the person making the statement was in expectation of death, whether the dying declaration was made at the earliest opportunity, etc, should be weighed in by the courts.
State of mind
The apex court said that it is true that dying declaration is a substantive piece of evidence to be relied on if it is proved that the same was voluntary and truthful and the victim was in a fit state of mind. “It is just not enough for the court to say that the dying declaration is reliable as the accused is named in the dying declaration as the assailant,” the top court held.