It cannot be that a dying declaration which supports the prosecution alone can be accepted while the other innocent dying declarations have to be rejected. Such a trend will be extremely dangerous, the Bench said.
The Supreme Court in State of Gujarat vs. Jayrajbhai Punjabhai Varu has observed that the trend of accepting dying declaration which supports the prosecution alone and rejecting innocent dying declarations is extremely dangerous.
Apex Court bench comprising of Justices Kurian Joseph and R. K. Agrawal also said that mechanical approach by Courts in relying upon a dying declaration just because it is there is extremely dangerous. These observations were made while dismissing an appeal against a High Court judgment which had acquitted the accused-husband who was convicted by the Trial Court.
MECHANICAL APPROACH DANGEROUS
The court observed: “The courts below have to be extremely careful when they deal with a dying declaration as the maker thereof is not available for the cross-examination which poses a great difficulty to the accused person. A mechanical approach in relying upon a dying declaration just because it is there is extremely dangerous. The court has to examine a dying declaration scrupulously with a microscopic eye to find out whether the dying declaration is voluntary, truthful, made in a conscious state of mind and without being influenced by the relatives present or by the investigating agency who may be interested in the success of investigation or which may be negligent while recording the dying declaration.”
‘INNOCENT’ DYING DECLARATION CAN ALSO BE ACCEPTED
The Court further observed: “A number of times the relatives influence the investigating agency and bring about a dying declaration. The dying declarations recorded by the investigating agencies have to be very scrupulously examined and the court must remain alive to all the attendant circumstances at the time when the dying declaration comes into being. In case of more than one dying declaration, the intrinsic contradictions in those dying declarations are extremely important. It cannot be that a dying declaration which supports the prosecution alone can be accepted while the other innocent dying declarations have to be rejected. Such a trend will be extremely dangerous. However, the courts below are fully entitled to act on the dying declarations and make them the basis of conviction, where the dying declarations pass all the above tests.”
The Bench added: “The court has to weigh all the attendant circumstances and come to the independent finding whether the dying declaration was properly recorded and whether it was voluntary and truthful. Once the court is convinced that the dying declaration is so recorded, it may be acted upon and can be made a basis of conviction. The courts must bear in mind that each criminal trial is an individual aspect. It may differ from the other trials in some or the other respect and, therefore, a mechanical approach to the law of dying declaration has to be shunned.”
Read the Judgment here.