Breaking News SC quashes Abetment to Suicide charge against women, as...

SC quashes Abetment to Suicide charge against women, as no sign of intentionally instigating

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New Delhi, Sept 18 (ILNS):The Supreme Court on September 17, while quashing criminal proceedings and a Non Bailable Warrant (NBA) issued against a woman in a case of an alleged abetment to suicide under the SC/ST Act observed that it involves mental process of instigating or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing.

The criminal appeal was filed by the Appellant aggrieved by the July 18, 2019 order passed  by the Allahabad High Court, dismissing her application  filed under Section  482 of Code of Criminal  Procedure (Cr.PC).

The facts of the case are that on May, 11, 2018, an FIR was registered at T.P.  Nagar Police Station, District Meerut on the complaint of the brother of the deceased under Sections 328, 302, IPC and 3(2)(v) of The Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes  (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989  alleging that his brother (deceased) was called by the appellant on May 04, 2018 at her house. At that point of time his brother was on duty at PVM Logistic Company and on such call, he went to appellant’s house, wherein the appellant’s father, mother and sister met his brother and all of them abused his brother with casteist abuses and forcefully administered poison to him and  consequently  his brother became unconscious. Complainant further stated  that his brother  was taken  to hospital  and due to the negligence of the hospital, he died.

Initially the FIR was registered for offences punishable under Sections 328, 302 of IPC (Poisoning and Murder) and Section 3(2)(v) of the Act against the appellant, her brother and sister. After investigation, a final report was  filed only against the appellant for the offence under Section 306 IPC and  Section 3(2)(v) of the Act. On filing such a final report,cognizance was  taken against the appellant and on 21.02.2019 non bailable  warrants were issued against the appellant.  After filing of the final report, case was registered against the appellant under Section 306 IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the Act,  which is pending on the file of the Additional District & Sessions Judge/Special Judge,   Scheduled Castes & Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Meerut.

Appellant approached the High Court for quashing of cognizance order/NBW issued against her.  It was the case of the appellant before the High Court that no offence is made out against her to  proceed for trial for the alleged offence under Section 306, IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the Act. The High Court, by this order, disposed of the petition mainly on the   ground that the disputed questions of the fact cannot be adjudicated at this stage under Section 482, Cr.PC.

Sanchit Garga, Counsel for the Appellant contended that there is absolutely no  basis to proceed against her for alleged offence under Section 306, IPC and Section 3(2) (v) of the Act.   It is submitted that except that the appellant was harassed by the deceased  by following  her and proposing marriage with him there is absolutely no basis to allege that the appellant has abetted  the suicide of the deceased. It is further submitted that on the day of incident, on May 04, 2018 deceased came to the house of the appellant and started shouting  that he would marry her and if the marriage was not solemnized he would consume poison. Within no time thereafter he consumed poison from a small bottle which he was holding in his hand  and fell unconscious and thereafter died in the hospital.  In absence of any of the ingredients of Section 306/107, IPC, appellant cannot be subjected to trial for the offence under Section  306, IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the Act , Sanchit added.

On the other hand, Aviral Saxena, Counsel for the State submitted that the deceased was  maintaining relations with the appellant. As she has refused to marry the deceased, he committed suicide by consuming poison. In view of the relation maintained by her, it amounts to abetment for committing the suicide by the deceased within  the meaning of  Section 306 of IPC.  It is further submitted that the appellant and other members of the family have abused the deceased by uttering casteist words, as such, the appellant is rightly sought to be  prosecuted for the offence under Section 3(2)(v) of the Act.

A bench comprising Justices R Subhash Reddy and Hrishikesh Roy after hearing the arguments from both sides and going through the records, noted that except the self-serving statements of the complainant and other witnesses stating that deceased was in   love with the appellant, there is no other material to show that appellant was maintaining any relation with the deceased.  
 From the material placed on record it is clear that on the date of incident on May 04, 2018 the deceased  went to the house of the appellant and consumed poison by taking out from a small bottle which he had carried in his pocket. Merely because he consumed poison in front of the house of the appellant, that  itself  will  not indicate any relation of the appellant with the deceased.  ‘Abetment’ involves the mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing a thing, observed the Court.

“Without positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, no one can be convicted for offence under Section 306, IPC.  To proceed against any person for the  offence  under  Section 306 IPC it requires an active act or direct act which led the  deceased to commit suicide, seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such  a position  that he committed suicide. There is nothing on record   to   show   that   appellant   was   maintaining   relation   with  the deceased and further there is absolutely no material to allege that appellant abetted for suicide of the deceased within the meaning of Section 306, IPC.  Even with regard to offence  alleged  under Section 3(2)(v)   of   the  Act it is to be noticed  that  except vague and bald statement that the appellant and   other family members abused deceased by uttering  casteist words but there is nothing on record to show to attract  any of the ingredients  for the  alleged offence also.”

The Apex Court referred  the case of Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) to deal with the aspect of abetment. In   the   said   case   the Top   Court   has   opined   that   there   should   be  an intention to provoke, incite or encourage the doing of an act by the accused.  Besides, the judgment  also observed that each person’s suicidability pattern  is different from the other and each person has his own idea of self¬esteem and self-respect.  In the said judgment it is held  that it is  impossible to lay down any straightjacket formula dealing with the cases of suicide and each  case has to be  decided on the basis of its own facts and circumstances.

“Having regard to such material placed on record and in absence of any material within the meaning of Section 107 of IPC, there is absolutely no basis to proceed against the appellant for the alleged offence of abetment of suicide (Section 306 IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of the Act). It would be travesty of justice to compel the appellant to face  a  criminal  trial without any credible material whatsoever,” the order reads./ILNS/SS/SNG

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