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‘Throw out baseless allegations in abetment to suicide cases'

J. Venkatesan


Intention of accused to aid or instigate suicide must be established

A criminal trial is not a pleasant experience


New Delhi: Observing that a criminal trial is not a pleasant experience, the Supreme Court has held that unless there are specific material and evidence of abetment to suicide, it will be hazardous to ask the accused to face trial.

Asking courts to be extremely cautious in convicting the accused in abetment to suicide cases, a Bench of Justices V.S. Sirpurkar and Cyriac Joseph noted that a person who took his own life would not be available for cross- examination, to verify the allegations made in the suicide note.

Writing the judgment, Justice Sirpurkar said baseless and irrelevant allegations could not be used for prosecution for a serious offence under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

“In such matters, there must be an allegation that the accused had instigated the deceased to commit suicide, or secondly, had engaged with some other person in a conspiracy, and lastly, that the accused had in any way aided in any act or illegal omission to bring about the suicide,” the Bench said.

“The intention of the accused to aid or to instigate or to abet the deceased to commit suicide is a must for this particular offence under Section 306.”

In the instant case, Madan Mohan Singh filed an appeal against a judgment of the Gujarat High Court, which refused to quash the First Information Report against him for abetment to suicide by Deepakbhai Krishnalal Joshi, who had been working as driver in a company under the appellant. It was alleged in the FIR, registered at the instance of the victim's wife, that Joshi had committed suicide due to harassment by Singh. Allowing Singh's appeal, the Supreme Court pointed out that the FIR itself was registered 24 days after the death of Joshi. Moreover, it did not disclose any specific offence against the appellant. “We could not find anything in the FIR or in the so-called suicide note which could be suggested as abetment to suicide”, the Bench said and quashed the proceedings.

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