Title: Unraveling the Legal Significance of Dying Declarations


Welcome to the official blog of the Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates, where we are dedicated to providing litigation support services for matters related to Dying Declarations. In today’s blog post, we aim to shed light on the prevailing issues surrounding Dying Declarations, the legal framework in place for their protection, and the steps we can take as a society to combat these acts. Join us as we explore this critical subject and empower you with the knowledge to protect your rights and safety.

When crimes occur, the narrative often hinges on the statements of two key individuals: the accused, responsible for the offense, and the victim, with whom the offense occurred. However, the reliability of their statements can be questionable, leading to the pivotal role of witnesses in ascertaining the truth. Amidst this complexity, a unique condition comes into play—the Dying Declaration.

Defining Dying Declaration: A Dying Declaration is a statement made by an individual in the throes of death, outlining the circumstances leading to their demise. This declaration, whether oral, written, or through conduct, holds legal weight and is admissible as evidence in court.

Legal Framework – Indian Evidence Act: Section 32(1) of the Indian Evidence Act defines the admissibility of statements made by a person regarding the cause of their death or related circumstances. Such statements, whether made by a living or deceased person under the expectation of death, are relevant and admissible in court proceedings.

Types of Dying Declarations:

  1. Gestures and Signs:
    • Examining cases where gestures and signs become crucial components of a dying declaration.
    • Highlighting instances where non-verbal communication played a pivotal role, such as in the Nirbhaya rape case.
  2. Oral and Written Declarations:
    • Discussing scenarios where the victim orally identifies the offender.
    • Analyzing written declarations, emphasizing their legal validity.
  3. Incomplete Declarations:
    • Exploring instances where dying declarations may be deemed incomplete.
    • Assessing the circumstances under which incomplete declarations remain admissible.
  4. Question-Answer Form:
    • Evaluating the format of dying declarations in a question-answer form.
    • Emphasizing the importance of accurately recording statements in this format.

Admissibility and Reliability: Dying declarations are admitted in court based on the principle that a person facing imminent death is unlikely to lie. However, the fitness of the declarant’s mental state at the time of the declaration must be thoroughly examined to ensure the reliability of the statement.

Who Can Record a Dying Declaration?

In the legal realm, the recording of a dying declaration holds significant weight, but the choice of the recorder is crucial. While any person with a nexus to the deceased can record it, the roles of doctors, police officers, and magistrates are particularly esteemed.

Supreme Court’s Perspective on Burn Injury Cases

In a notable decision, the Supreme Court emphasized the magistrate’s role in recording dying declarations, especially in burn injury cases. The court highlighted the absence of a specific directive on who can record such declarations but underscored the magistrate’s authority due to the evidential value of their statements.

Criteria for the Recorder

The person recording the dying declaration must ensure the deceased’s mental fitness and consciousness during the statement. While a normal person’s recording is admissible, statements recorded by doctors, police officers, or magistrates vary in their credential value and reliability.

Recorded by a Normal Person:

  1. Assessing the circumstances under which statements made by regular individuals are admissible.
  2. Emphasizing the importance of showcasing the declarant’s fit mental state.

Recorded by a Doctor or Police Officer: Recording by a Doctor or Police Officer

In-Time Constraints: If there is insufficient time to summon a magistrate, especially considering the deteriorated condition of the declarant, a doctor or police officer may record the dying declaration. However, a crucial condition is that one or two witnesses must be present during the statement to avoid suspicion. Additionally, the doctor’s endorsement is required to clarify the declarant’s unstable condition, with a witness rectifying that the deceased was in a fit mental state, as established in the case of N. Ram v. State[11].

Recording by Magistrate

Reliability and Authority: When a competent magistrate records the deceased’s statement, it is deemed reliable and carries evidentiary value. The magistrate, presumed to know the proper procedure for recording dying declarations, is considered a neutral party. The magistrate’s authority to record dying declarations is outlined in Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.P.C.).

Magistrate’s Power under Section 164 Cr.P.C.: Under Section 164 Cr.P.C., Subsection (1) grants the magistrate the power to record the dying person’s statement, irrespective of jurisdiction over the case. Subsection (6) applies in cases where the magistrate lacks jurisdiction. The term “statement” encompasses not only the deceased’s and witness’s statements but also the accused’s statement, provided it does not amount to a confession.

Warning and Certification: Section 164 provides a warning to the accused that their statement should not amount to a confession. Failure to adhere to this rule allows the confession to be used against the accused for conviction. The magistrate must question the accused to ensure the voluntary nature of the confession and provide the requisite certificate under subsection (4) of this chapter.

Importance of Clear Rules: In Mahabir Singh v. State of Haryana[12], the court emphasized the importance of the magistrate communicating that the accused’s statement should not be a confession. Failure to do so renders the statement inadmissible under the section and prevents its use under other provisions of the Indian Evidence Act, such as sections 21 & 29. The magistrate must ensure the accused’s voluntary statement, free from pressure or force, to maintain the confession’s credibility.

Legal Precedents and Challenges: Reviewing legal cases that underscore the importance of adherence to procedural requirements in recording dying declarations. Discussing challenges to the admissibility of dying declarations and the need for meticulous examination.


The comprehensive analysis delves into the intricate legal landscape surrounding dying declarations, emphasizing their pivotal role in judicial proceedings. From the legal framework under the Indian Evidence Act to the nuanced types of declarations, the exploration extends to the admissibility and reliability criteria. The examination of who can record dying declarations sheds light on the varying roles of individuals like doctors, police officers, and magistrates, with the Supreme Court’s perspective adding a layer of authority. Criteria for recorders, whether regular individuals or professionals underscore the importance of the declarant’s mental state.

We are a law firm in the name and style of Law Offices of Kr. Vivek Tanwar Advocate and Associates at Gurugram and Rewari. We are providing litigation support services for matters related to the  Indian Evidence Act 1872.

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