Dying declaration can’t always be the sole basis for conviction

The Supreme Court issued elaborate guidelines on the admissibility of dying declarations, leading to the acquittal of a death-row convict due to doubts raised.

The three-judge bench, comprising Justices B.R. Gavai, J.B. Pardiwala, and Prashant Kumar Mishra, delivered the verdict in the case of Irfan@Naka vs. the State of Uttar Pradesh.

The court emphasized that dying declarations must be wholly reliable and inspire confidence to carry substantial weight.

The sanctity of dying declarations rests on ethical, religious, and public policy grounds. However, the court stressed that doubts over veracity can weaken their role in convictions.

The court clarified that there's no fixed rule for accepting dying declarations. Each case's circumstances must convince the court of its truthfulness.

The verdict introduced ten factors affecting a declaration's credibility, including the declarant's expectation of death, timeliness, influence, and consistency.

The prosecution is responsible for proving charges beyond reasonable doubt, and any doubts should favor the accused.

The case revolved around a man from Bijnore, UP, who was convicted of setting his son and two brothers on fire due to personal animosity.

Inconsistent dying declarations and contradictory oral evidence led the court to doubt the convict's guilt.

This verdict not only acquitted the death-row convict but also established a new framework for assessing the reliability of dying declarations, highlighting the court's commitment to justice rooted in truth and fairness.


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