Suicide on the day of quarrel doesn’t mean abetment: SC; a couple had consumed pesticide after quarrel, man survived but wife had died

By Lokmat English Desk | Published: September 15, 2021 05:35 PM2021-09-15T17:35:01+5:302021-09-15T17:35:01+5:30

Dr Khushalchand Baheti Aurangabad, Sept 15: Mere harassment without any positive action by accused, proximate to the time of ...

Suicide on the day of quarrel doesn’t mean abetment: SC; a couple had consumed pesticide after quarrel, man survived but wife had died | Suicide on the day of quarrel doesn’t mean abetment: SC; a couple had consumed pesticide after quarrel, man survived but wife had died

Suicide on the day of quarrel doesn’t mean abetment: SC; a couple had consumed pesticide after quarrel, man survived but wife had died

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Dr Khushalchand Baheti

Aurangabad, Sept 15: Mere harassment without any positive action by accused, proximate to the time of suicide would not amount to an offence under Section 306 IPC. Mere quarrel on the day of the suicide cannot attract the offence of abetment of suicide, Supreme Court (SC) has observed.

A case pertaining to a quarrel between a man and his wife was before the SC. Shortly after the quarrel, the couple consumed pesticide. The man survived, but wife died.

On a complaint filed by brother of the wife, offence of 306 IPC was registered against husband. Trial court convicted the husband for abetment to suicide and sentenced him to seven years rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 2500. The court also convicted him for the offence under Section 4(b) of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act and sentenced him to 3 years RI and fine of Rs 2500. The Madras High Court upheld the conviction.

During the hearing of the husband’s appeal, the SC noted that the marriage between the accused and the deceased took place 25 years ago. So, the presumption under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act shall not arise.

In order to bring a case within the provision of the Section 306 IPC, there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of suicide, the accused must have played an active role. This role can be by an instigation to commit suicide 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 suicide would not amount to an offence under Section 306 IPC.

In this case, except the allegation of a quarrel on the day of suicide, there is nothing that indicates abetment. There is no material on record that the accused played an active role by instigating or facilitating suicide. On the contrary, the accused also tried to commit suicide and consumed pesticide, said the SC setting aside the conviction of husband.

BOX :

SC observations

The instigation to suicide can be inferred where the accused by his acts or omission, creates such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide.

(Justice MR Shah and Aniruddha Bose )

BOX :

When Sec 113A is attracted

If a married woman commits suicide within seven years of marriage, a presumption that suicide was due to abatement of accused is presumed as per Sec 113A Indian Evidence Act.

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