Statements by Persons who cannot be called as Witnesses (Section 32 – 33)

Section 32: Cases in which statement of relevant fact by person who is dead or cannot be found, etc., is relevant

Statements, written or verbal, of relevant facts made by a person who is dead, or who cannot be found, or who has become incapable of giving evidence, or whose attendance cannot be procured without an amount of delay or expense which under the circumstances of the case appears to the Court unreasonable, are themselves relevant facts in the following cases:—

(1) When it relates to cause of death—When the statement is made by a person as to the cause of his death, or as to any of the circumstances of the transaction which resulted in his death, in cases in which the cause of that person’s death comes into question.

Such statements are relevant whether the person who made them was or was not, at the time when they were made, under expectation of death, and whatever may be the nature of the proceeding in which the cause of his death comes into question.

(2) Or is made in course of business—When the statement was made by such person in the ordinary course of business, and in particular when it consists of any entry or memorandum made by him in books kept in the ordinary course of business, or in the discharge of professional duty; or of an acknowledgment written or signed by him of the receipt of money, goods, securities or property of any kind; or of a document used in commerce written or signed by him; or of the date of a letter or other document usually dated, written or signed by him.

(3) Or against interest of maker—When the statement is against the pecuniary or proprietary interest of the person making it, or when, if true, it would expose him or would have exposed him to a criminal prosecution or to a suit for damages.

(4) Or gives opinion as to public right or custom, or matters of general interest—When the statement gives the opinion of any such person, as to the existence of any public right or custom or matter of public or general interest, of the existence of which, if it existed, he would have been likely to be aware, and when such statement was made before any controversy as to such right, custom or matter had arisen.

(5) Or relates to existence of relationship—When the statement relates to the existence of any relationship by blood, marriage or adoption between persons as to whose relationship by blood, marriage or adoption the person making the statement had special means of knowledge, and when the statement was made before the question in dispute was raised.

(6) Or is made in will or deed relating to family affairs—When the statement relates to the existence of any relationship by blood, marriage or adoption] between persons deceased, and is made in any will or deed relating to the affairs of the family to which any such deceased person belonged, or in any family pedigree, or upon any tombstone, family portrait or other thing on which such statements are usually made, and when such statement was made before the question in dispute was raised.

(7) Or in document relating to transaction mentioned in Section 13, clause (a)—When the statement is contained in any deed, will or other document which relates to any such transaction as is mentioned in Section 13, clause (a).

(8) Or is made by several persons and expresses feelings relevant to matter in question—When the statement was made by a number of persons, and expressed feelings or impressions on their part relevant to the matter in question.


Section 33: Relevancy of certain evidence for proving, in subsequent proceeding, the truth of facts therein stated

Evidence given by a witness in a judicial proceeding, or before any person authorised by law to take it, is relevant for the purpose of proving, in a subsequent judicial proceeding, or in a later stage of the same judicial proceeding, the truth of the facts which it states, when the witness is dead or cannot be found, or is incapable of giving evidence, or is kept out of the way by the adverse party, or if his presence cannot be obtained without an amount of delay or expense which, under the circumstances of the case, the Court considers unreasonable:

Provided

that the proceeding was between the same parties or their representatives in interest;

that the adverse party in the first proceeding had the right and opportunity to cross-examine;

that the questions in issue were substantially the same in the first as in the second proceeding.

Explanation—A criminal trial or inquiry shall be deemed to be a proceeding between the prosecutor and the accused within the meaning of this section.


IMPORTANT CASE LAWS

1. FIR treated as dying declaration :

Emperor vs Mohammad Sheik And Ors., AIR 1943 Cal 74 : “……….The First Information Report against the accused is clearly not a statement within the contemplation of Section 162 because it is not made in the course of an investigation…. It is usually put in by the prosecution which in any ordinary case has a duty to put in. But, however, important first informations may be, they do not prove themselves and have to be tendered under one or other of the provisions of the Evidence Act. The usual course is for the prosecution to call the informant and for the first information to be tendered as corroboration under Section 157; but it could also be tendered in a proper case under Section 32 (1), as a declaration as to the cause of the informant’s death, or as part of the informant’s conduct (of the res gestae) under Section 8.…………”.


2. Multiple dying declaration :

State of Punjab v. Praveen Kumar, AIR 2005 SC 1277 : “………..The mere fact that two different versions are given but one name is common in both of them cannot be a ground for convicting the named person. The court must be satisfied that the dying declaration is truthful. If there are two dying declarations giving two different versions, a serious doubt is created about the truthfulness of the dying declaration. …………”


 

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