“Dying Declaration In India”: What, How, and When, (Case Laws Included)


Meaning of Dying Declaration

A dying declaration is a statement, either oral or written, made by a person who is about to die, explaining the cause of their death or the circumstances surrounding their death. It is an exception to the rule against hearsay evidence, which is considered as an indirect evidence under the Evidence Law.


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Dying Declaration And Indian Evidence Act

In India, the admissibility of dying declarations is governed by Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, which states:

“When the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that persons death comes into question, such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question.”

In simpler terms, when a person is about to die, they make a statement or a declaration that explains the cause of their death or the circumstances that caused their death. This is called a dying declaration and is considered a relevant fact, admissible in evidence.


Elements of Dying Declaration

To be admissible as evidence, a dying declaration must meet the following criteria:

1.                   Statement by a deceased person: The statement must have been made by a person who is dead. This is because the statement is being admitted as hearsay evidence, and hearsay evidence is only admissible if the declarant is unavailable to testify in court.

2.                   The declarant has to be aware or conscious that death is impending. This does not require explicit expression of fear of death, but rather a general understanding of their impending demise. The court takes a very liberal approach while considering this point, as this requirement is expressly taken away from section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act.

3.                   The declaration must relate to the cause of death or the circumstances surrounding the death.

4.                   It can be oral, written or even in the form of gestures.

5.                   The declaration, although, generally recorded in question-answer form, but it can also be a spontaneous statement.

6.                   The declarant must be mentally fit i.e. conscious oriented, fully aware and able to understand the consequences of making his statement.

7.                   The declaration should be clear, specific, and free from vagueness or ambiguity.

8.                   There must be proximity of time in making of the statement and time of death.


Evidentiary Value of Dying Declaration

The Dying declarations are admitted based on the principle of "Nemo moriturns praesumitur mentiri," which means a person will not meet their maker with a lie on their lips.

These declarations are considered substantive evidence, meaning they can be used to establish the facts they assert. They can be the sole basis for a conviction, but courts may consider corroborating evidence to strengthen the declaration's probative value.


To Whom Dying Declaration be Made?

A dying declaration can be made to anyone, including friends, relatives, strangers, or even law enforcement officers. However, declarations made to magistrates or other judicial officers may carry more weight due to the formal setting and the presumption of impartiality.


Comparison with English Law

In English law, it is a requirement that the declarant should be under the expectancy of imminent death, and the nature of the proceeding must be criminal, with the accused being charged with murder or culpable homicide. In Indian law, none of these conditions are necessary.

Also read: Important Solved Questions on Constitutional Law, (Updated)


Land mark cases On Dying Declaration

Several landmark cases have shaped the understanding and application of dying declarations in Indian law:

1.      Pakala Narayana Swami vs Emperor, AIR 1939 PC 47:

Facts: A box containing a dead body was found in the third coach of the train. After a few days, the wife recognised the dead body to be of her husband, who is no more. During the trial, the wife told the court that her deceased husband had told her several times about the letter obtaining the amount of the loan. Also, when she last met her husband, he informed his wife that he was going to collect the money and that he was threatening him not to give back the borrowed money.

Principle laid down: This case established that dying declarations can relate to circumstances surrounding the death, not just the immediate cause of death.

2.      Queen Empress vs Abdullah:

Facts: The woman was unable to speak due to a slit throat. She suggested the name of the accused by signs.

Held: This case recognized gestures as a valid form of dying declaration.


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3.      Mahmood Illahi vs State of Uttar Pradesh (1990).

This case held that FIRs (First Information Reports) recorded by police officers based on dying declarations are admissible under Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act.

4.      Kamala vs State of Punjab, AIR 1992 SC 374:

In this case, the court held that when there are multiple dying declarations made by one or several persons and they are inconsistent with each other, such dying declarations must be corroborated with each other and be examined in light of other circumstantial evidence.

5.      Maqsoodan vs State of Uttar Pradesh (1983) 1 SCC 218

In this case, the court held that if the declarant of any statement survives, then his statement cannot be used as a dying declaration under section 32 (1) of the Indian Evidence Act. However, it can be used for the purpose of corroboration under section 157 of the Evidence Act and for contradiction under section 145 of the Evidence Act.



Dying declarations play a crucial role in criminal justice, providing valuable evidence in cases where other direct evidence may be limited. However, courts carefully scrutinize dying declarations to ensure their authenticity and reliability, considering factors such as the declarant's mental state, proximity to death, and consistency with other evidence.


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  1. Yes under sec 155 and 157 of evidence act ( ram Prasad v state of maharstra 1999 sc )

  2. No because dyling declaration use for only if victim is died