FIR as Dying Declaration – Admissible under Section 32 of Indian Evidence Act

Whether statement by an injured person recorded as FIR can be treated as a Dying Declaration and whether such a statement is admissible under Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act?

The Apex Court in following judgments held that depending upon the circumstances the Dying Declaration may not cover the whole incident or narrate the case history. It was also held that corroboration is not necessary for this situation and that a Dying Declaration can be the sole basis for conviction.

“Para 5. In regard to these dying declarations, the judgment of the Sessions Court suffers from a patent infirmity in that it wholly overlooks the earliest of these dying declarations, which was made by the deceased soon after the incident in the house of one Barjor Singh. The second statement which has been treated by the High Court as a dying declaration is Ex. P-14, being the FIR which was lodged by the deceased at the police station. The learned Sessions Judge probably assumed that since the statement was recorded as a FIR, it could not be treated as a dying declaration. In this assumption, he was clearly in error. After making the statement before the police, Bahadur Singh succumbed to his injuries and therefore the statement can be treated as a dying declaration and is admissible under Section 32(1) of the
Evidence Act. The maker of the statement is dead and the statement relates to the cause of his death.

Para 6. The High Court has held that these statements are essentially true and do not suffer from any infirmity. It is well settled that though a dying declaration must be approached with caution for the reason that the maker of the statement cannot be subject to cross- examination, there is neither a rule of law nor a rule of prudence which has hardened into a rule of law that a dying declaration cannot be acted upon unless it is corroborated…

Para 10. We are in full agreement with the High Court that both of these dying declarations are true. We are further of the opinion that considering the facts and circumstances of the case, these two statements can be accepted without corroboration. Bahadur Singh was assaulted in broad day light and he knew the appellants. He did not bear any grudge towards them and had therefore no reason to implicate them falsely. Those who were in the constant company of Bahadur Singh after the assault, had also no reason to implicate the appellants falsely. They bore no ill-will or malice towards the appellants. We see no infirmity attaching to the two dying declarations which would make it necessary to look out for corroboration.”

Supreme Court
Munnu Raja and another v. State of M.P. (1976) 3 SCC 104

“Para 6. The law relating to dying declaration the relevancy, admissibility, and its probative value- is fairly settled. More often the expressions ‘relevancy and admissibility’ are used as synonyms but their legal implications are distinct and different for more often than not facts which are relevant are not admissible; so also facts which are admissible may not be relevant, for example, questions permitted to be put in cross- examination to test the veracity or impeach the credit of witnesses, though not relevant are admissible. The probative value of the evidence is the weight to be given to it which has to be judged having regard to the facts and circumstances of each case. in this case, the thrust of the submission relates not to relevancy or admissibility but to the value to be given to Exh.2. A dying declaration made by a person who is dead as to cause of his death or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which cause of his death comes in question, is relevant under Section 32 of the Evidence Act and is also admissible in evidence. Though dying declaration is indirect evidence being a specie of hearsay, yet it is an exception to the rule against admissibility of hearsay evidence. Indeed, it is substantive evidence and like any other substantive evidence requires no corroboration for forming basis of conviction of an accused. But then the question as to how much weight can be attached to a dying declaration is a question of fact and has to be determined on the facts of each case.”

Supreme Court
Ram Bihari Yadav vs State of Bihar & Ors (1998) 4 SCC 517

The Supreme Court has clarified that FIR recorded as a Dying Declaration is admissible under Section 32 of the Indian Evidence Act, even without corroboration, if it pertains to the cause of the declarant’s death. Judgments assert that such a statement can be the sole basis for conviction, provided it is true and does not possess any infirmity. Corroboration is not a legal necessity, and the weight of the declaration depends on the specific facts and circumstances of each case.