What is dying declaration and what is its evidentiary value?

(1) Introduction

Principle of dying declaration is no new principle. In medieval English courts, this principle had been originated from an ancient principle, which means that no one on point of death should be presumed to be lying. This principle of dying declaration has been borrowed from English evidence law and has been included into Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order of Pakistan.

(2) Meaning of Dying Declaration

Dying declaration means a statement by that person, who believes that death is imminent especially when such statement relates to cause of circumstances of such person’s impending death.

(3) Evidentiary Value Of Dying Declaration

Dying declaration is of great evidentiary value. However, it is necessary that following conditions should be fulfilled for admission of dying declaration in evidence:

  • (i) Cause of death or circumstances of transaction
  • (ii) Death of declarant
  • (iii) Complete dying declaration
  • (iv) Dying declaration as admissible evidence
  • (v) Death of declarant in question
  • (vi) Competency of declarant

(i) Cause of death or circumstances of transaction

It is essential for admission of dying declaration as admissible evidence that declarant should have made statement about cause of his/her death or about those circumstances of transaction, which resulted in his/her death.

(ii) Death of declarant

It is necessary for admission of dying declaration as admissible evidence that declarant of dying declaration should be dead.

(iii) Complete dying declaration

It is essential for admission of dying declaration as admissible evidence that statement, which has been made as dying declaration, should be complete.

(iv) Dying declaration as admissible evidence

it is necessary for admission of dying declaration as admissible evidence that accused should have inflicted wounds upon declarant and such wounds should have caused declarant’s death.

(v) Death of declarant in question

It is essential for admission of dying declaration as admissible evidence that statement about dying declaration should be made in those cases in which death of declarant is in question.

(vi) Competency of declarant

It is necessary for admission of dying declaration as admissible evidence that declarant should be competent to testify as witness under Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order.

(4) Conviction

An admitted principle is that dying declaration can basis of conviction when it has not only been duly proved, but has also been admitted in evidence. For explanation of this principle, following points are important:

(5) Essential conditions of dying declaration

Dying declaration can be basis of conviction when it has fulfilled all essential conditions of dying declaration.

  • (i) Complete dying declaration
  • (ii) True & genuine dying declaration
  • (iii) Interested parties

(i) Complete dying declaration

Dying declaration can be basis of conviction if it is complete. It means that incomplete dying declaration cannot be basis of conviction. Reason is that incomplete dying declaration never reveals what deceased declarant intended to further state in his/her dying declaration.

(ii) True & genuine dying declaration

When dying declaration is true and genuine declaration, it can be basis of conviction. In fact, conviction can be awarded on basis of dying declaration when dying declaration does not suffer any infirmity.

(iii) Interested parties

If interested parties improves dying declaration, such dying declaration cannot be made basis of conviction.

(6) Conclusion

To conclude, it can be stated that Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order explains that direct evidence is original, positive and pregnant with first hand and fresh knowledge. Therefore, it emphasizes that there should be direct evidence. It reveals that Qanoon-e-Shahadat Order does not allow admission of hearsay evidence. However, dying declaration is an exception to principle about hearsay evidence. Therefore, it can be admissible evidence and can also be basis of conviction.

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