Changes in Dying Declaration Admissibility

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Tejram Patil v. State of Maharashtra is certainly one of the landmark cases as law regulation dying declarations.

In a notable judgment, a 2 judge bench comprising of Justices Adarsh Kumar Goel and Dipak Misra have given a fresh dimension to the Dying Declaration (DD) Jurisprudence in the country. Via this judgment, the bench speaking through Goel J opened the admissibility scheme of DD from the maker for his/her death to a statement made as DD explaining circumstances for death of any other person as well.

The matter pertained to homicide by the accused husband of the wife by pouring kerosene and burning her in presence of her mother. The wife who succumbed to the burn injuries and the mother, made separate DD before authorities. But the fitness criteria for the DD made by the wife was omitted and it was rejected on procedural grounds. On appeal, the Bombay High Court, Nagpur Bench confirmed the conviction but also accepted the DD made by the deceased. When the case came up before the Supreme Court, it upheld the conviction. The apex court has also laid down that when two persons die in the same transaction, the statement made by one is admissible to determine the cause of death of the maker and not of the other person. . However, if it so happens that the circumstances of the transaction resulting in death of the statement-maker are so integrally connected to the circumstances of the death of the other person, such a statement becomes relevant and admissible also in relation to the death of the other person. The judgment however, makes no reference to Sec 6 of the Evidence Act, 1872 dealing with res gestae i.e. acts forming part of the same transaction.

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