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Full text of "Medical Jurisprudence And Toxicology"

14                                                MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE

Under the Evidence Act of India, a dying declaration is admissible in
court as evidence whether the person who made it was or was not, at the
time when it was made, under expectation of death, but it is essential that
the declarant must be in a sound state of mind at the time of making the
declaration," It is, therefore, the duty of a medical attendant to certify that
his patient is in a fit mental condition to make a statement before it is
recorded. A dying declaration is admissible in all criminal and civil cases,
where the cause of death is under enquiry.

Under the English law, a dying declaration is admissible as evidence if
the declarant, at the time when the declaration was made, was hi full posses-
sion of his senses, and believed that he was about to die and that his recovery
was impossible, the legal assumption being that an individual would speak
nothing but the truth during the last moments of life. The admissibility
of a dying declaration is confined to criminal charges of murder or
manslaughter only.

(2) Oral Evidence.—Oral evidence must in all cases whatever be direct,
that is to say, if it refers to a fact which could be seen, heard or perceived
by any other_sense,._5r in any^other manner7"it must be the evidence of a
wiSiesswho says he saw, heard, or perceived it by that sense or in that
manner; if it refers to an opinion or to the grounds on which that opinion
is held, it must be the evidence of the person who holds that opinion on
those grounds.10 If oral evidence refers to the existence or condition of any
material article other than a document, the court may, if it thinks fit, require
the production of such material article for its inspection. Oral evidence is
more important than documentary evidence, since a person has to prove
on oath or affirmation documentary evidence supplied by hinrlxr-tia© court,
that it IsJtm'g^ndJ^rrect Wd"isrin~jhis_ own handwriting^ the, following are

the exceptions : —

— -—;                                                                                                                    i              ,

1.   Dying declaration. ^                               /

^£ 2.   Expert opinions expressed in a treatise, f/                        /

3.    Deposition of a medical witness taken in a lower court.

4.    Chemical Examiner's report.   ^

5.    Evidence given by a witness in a previous judicial proceeding.*/

1.   Dying Declaration.—This is accepted in court as legal evidence after

V________~            ? it./ Sno            _

-^tateiiienFceases to have any legat"force as a dying declaration, but it may

the death of_t^jpersojQ.jwhDmade it./ Snould the"person^arrce^Eo"live, his

be relied on under section 157 of the Indian Evidence^ Act (vide Appendix
II), to corroborate the statement of the complainant when examined^in the
case.11                                                      _                               - -*-

It should be remembered that a dying declaration does not becofrre~ in--
valid, if the declarant dies some days after making the declaration. In the
case of K. E, v. Thakura Singh and another, where one Gurcharan who was
severely beaten at about 5 or 5-30 p.m. and had no fewer than eight incised
wounds causing a fracture of the skull bone and protrusion of the brain
matter was able to make his dying declaration at 9 p.m. on the same day and
died after six days, it was held that the fact that the declarant had. lingered
for some days after making the declaration does not render a dying declara-
tion inadmissible in evidence.12

2.   Expert Opinions expressed in a Treatise.—Expert opinions expressed
in any treatise commonly offered for sale, and the grounds on which such

9.   Vide Appendix II, sec. 32(1), Indian Evidence Act.

10.   Vide Appendix II, section 60, Indian Evidence Act.

11.   E. V. Rama Sattu, 4 Bom. L.R. 434; Sarkar, The Law of Evidence in India, Ed. IV,
p. 235.

12.   30 Crim. Law Jour., 1929, p. 65.