Supreme court on Tuesday reiterated that mere harassment would not amount to an offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
The division bench of Justice L. Nagaswera Rao and Justice Aniruddha Bose noted that in order to bring a case within Section 306 IPC, there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of the said offence, the person who is said to have abetted the commission of suicide must have played an active role by an act of instigating or by doing a certain act to facilitate the commission of suicide.
The bench was hearing a petition filed by Shabbir Hussain, brother of the deceased. After a matrimonial dispute, the deceased’s wife moved to her parental home after which he committed suicide and left four suicide notes. In the letters, he wrote that the accused didn’t send his wife and daughter with him and they are liable for his suicide.
The High Court of Madhya Pradesh at Indore had allowed the criminal revision and set aside the trial court order. Aggrieved by the High Court decision, the petitioner moved the apex court with a Special Leave Petition.
Referring to the judgment in Amalendu Pal v. State of West Bengal(2010) 1 SCC 707, the apex court bench said, “In order to bring a case within the provision of Section 306 IPC, there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of the said offence, the person who is said to have abetted the commission of suicide must have played an active role by an act of instigating or by doing a certain act to facilitate the commission of suicide. Mere harassment without any positive action on the part of the accused proximate to the time of occurrence which led to the suicide would not amount to an offence under Section 306 IPC.”
“Abetment by a person is when a person instigates another to do something and that the instigation can be inferred where the accused had, by his acts or omission created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no option except to commit suicide,” the bench referred to another judgment in Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Government of NCT of Delhi)(2009) 16 SCC 605].
The top court dismissed the petitioner’s appeal noting that the allegation is that the accused harassed the deceased, but there is no other material on record which indicates abetment.