Dying declarations are vital evidence in establishing dowry deaths. When a woman dies without making such a statement, but has earlier alleged harassment and threats to her life, can her statements be considered a ‘dying declaration’?
Generally in a criminal case, the testimony of a person for the purpose of evidence is considered after the individual has been cross-examined by the lawyers for the accused. However, statements made by a person as to the cause of his/her death, or any of the circumstances surrounding the death, are an exception to this rule and are referred to as ‘dying declarations’. These are admissible under Section 32 (1) of the Evidence Act and given evidentiary weightage and value, even though there has been no cross-examination as the individual concerned is deceased.
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