The ruling was delivered by a full-bench comprising of Justice Ravi Deshpande, Justice Sunil Shukre and Justice Murlidhar Giratkar. The bench said, “A dying declaration cannot be rejected merely because the same is not read over to the declarant and the declarant admitting the same to have been correctly recorded. We hold and clarify that this can be one of the factors, if it assumes significance in the facts and circumstances of any case.”
The judges have put forth a three-fold questionnaire, which they said must be considered by a Court while deciding the dying declarations. The questions according to the full bench are – Whether a declarant had an opportunity to observe and identify the assailant or the accused? Whether a declarant was in a conscious and fit condition at the time of recording the statement? and whether the Court is so convinced of the truthfulness and voluntary nature of the statement of the declarant that it inspires confidence to such an extent that it can be the sole basis of conviction?The full bench said, “The absence of an endorsement in the dying declaration – (a) by a doctor regarding the fitness of mind of the declarant, or (b) that the statement was read over and explained to the declarant, cannot be the reason for holding that the dying declaration is unacceptable, if the Court is otherwise satisfied that such a dying declaration inspires confidence. We are clearly of the view that it will be a cumulative effect of the facts and circumstances of the case, which will determine such issues. Hence, there cannot be a strait-jacket formula or hard and fast rule which can be laid down.
As carried in F