Dying declaration is admitted in evidence. The principle on which it is admitted as evidence is indicated in the legal maxim ‘nemomoriturus prae-sumitur mentire’ which means a man will not meet his maker with a lie in his mouth. This is exactly the reason as to why courts have held that an accused can be convicted solely on the basis of ‘Dying Declaration.’ In fact, no corroboration is required since corroboration is only a rule of prudence and not a rule of evidence.

Meaning –

Words dying declaration means a statement written or verbal of relevant facts made by a person who is dead. It is dealt with under clause (1) of section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act 1872. Generally, it relates to the cause of death of the declarant. A dying declaration can be proved by the person who records it. A dying Declaration is not complete unless the full names and addresses of the persons involved are given in it.

The distinction between the English Law and Indian Law:

Under English law, it is essential/ to the admissibility of a dying declaration that the declarant must have entertained a settled hopeless expectation of death, but he need not have been expecting immediate death.

Indian law does not put any such restrictions. It is not required under Indian law that the maker should be under an expectation of imminent death, nor it is restricted to the case of homicide only. Before a dying declaration may be admitted, it must be proved that its maker is dead. If the maker survives, it may be used to corroborate or contradict his statement in court.


According to Section 32(1) itself:

A statement may be oral or written. But in Emperor vs. Abdullah was held that Conduct to be relevant as dying declaration.

The statement must be as to:

Cause Of Death

Circumstances Of The Transaction

Resulted In The Death

Pakala Narayan Swamy vs. Emperor, AlR 1939-The statement made by the deceased to his wife that he was going to the accused to collect money from him (accused being indebted to the deceased), was held to be admissible under section 32(1).

Dying declaration will be admissible in evidence only when the person making the statement dies and the cause of the person’s death comes into question. If the person who has made a dying declaration survives, such a statement will not come within the purview of Section 32(1) of the Evidence Act. Dying declaration is an exception to the general rule of excluding the hearsay evidence. The burden of proving the dying declaration is always on the prosecution. Since an accused can be convicted solely on the basis of dying declaration, the court is expected to carefully scrutinize the same.


Dying declaration may be the sole basis of conviction, but Courts must conclude it to be trustworthy, reliable and one which inspires confidence: Supreme Court. “No doubt, that a conviction can be solely recorded on the basis of dying declaration.

The Dying Declaration should inspire the confidence of the court about the truthfulness of such a declaration. If the court, after careful evaluation of the entire evidence, feels that the same was the result of either tutoring, prompting or product of imagination, the Declaration will 2 not be accepted. If the contents of the very Dying Declaration contradict the core of the prosecution case, the declaration will not be the basis for conviction. Normally, a Dying Declaration should be recorded in the words of the declarant, but the same cannot be rejected merely because the exact words used by the declarant are not reproduced.

Admissibility of Dying Declaration –

In Sant Gopal vs. the State of U.P.[6]1995 Cr.L.J. (AIR.) Evidence of a dying declaration is admissible not only against the person causing the/death but also against other persons participating in causing death.

The Supreme Court has laid down in several judgments the principles governing dying declaration, which can be summed up as under:

There is neither rule of law nor of prudence that the dying declaration cannot be acted upon without corroboration.

If the court is satisfied that the dying declaration is true and voluntary, it can base conviction omit, without corroboration.

The court must scrutinize the dying declaration carefully and must ensure that the declaration/is not the result of tutoring, prompting or imagination. The deceased had the opportunity to observe and identify the assailants and was in a fit state to make the declaration.

Where a dying declaration is suspicious it should not be acted upon without corroborative evidence.

Where the deceased was unconscious and could never make any dying declaration evidence about it is to be rejected

A dying declaration which suffers from infirmity cannot form the basis of conviction.

Merely because a dying declaration does not contain the details as to the occurrence, it is not to be rejected. Equally, merely because it is a brief statement it is not to be discarded, on the contrary, the shortness of the statement itself guarantees truth.

Normally, the court to satisfy whether the deceased is in a fit mental condition to make the dying declaration look up to medical opinion. But where the eyewitness has said that the deceased was in a fit and conscious state to make the dying declaration, the medical opinion cannot prevail.

Where the prosecution version differs from the version as given in the dying declaration, the said declaration cannot be acted upon.


Dying declarations are a unique and invaluable form of evidence in the legal system, offering a glimpse into the minds of individuals facing their own mortality. They serve as a testament to the urgency and sincerity of final words spoken in extremis. While the admissibility of dying declarations is subject to specific criteria and scrutiny, their potential to reveal the truth about the circumstances leading to a person’s death is undeniable. Courts, law enforcement, and medical professionals must handle these declarations with the utmost care and ethical consideration, recognizing their profound significance in the pursuit of justice.

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