22 Jun 2023 6:49 AM GMT
The Karnataka High Court has quashed the prosecution initiated against a couple under section 306 IPC, alleged to have abetted the suicide of their nephew by threatening him over a property dispute.A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna held, “Proximate to the death must be a dynamic act, be it direct or indirect. It should be proximate to the occurrence of death and it should...
The Karnataka High Court has quashed the prosecution initiated against a couple under section 306 IPC, alleged to have abetted the suicide of their nephew by threatening him over a property dispute.
A single judge bench of Justice M Nagaprasanna held,
“Proximate to the death must be a dynamic act, be it direct or indirect. It should be proximate to the occurrence of death and it should be instigation of the kind that it drives a person to commit suicide.”
It was alleged that the petitioners were involved in property dispute with deceased, who happened to be their nephew. The said nephew committed suicide in November 2021, leaving behind a death note alleging that in the month of October, 2021 the petitioners had cornered him near BBMP office in Bangalore and threatened him that they will destroy his parents life. Based on this, the petitioners were chargesheeted.
Hence, the instant petition was filed seeking quashing.
Petitioners argued that none of the ingredients that are necessary for an offence under Section 306 of the IPC are present in the case. The alleged death note alleged that the petitioners in connection with a property dispute chided the deceased in October, 2021. However, the alleged date of suicide is November 23, 2021, it was contended. Even if it is taken as correct, there is no proximity for the death to be blamed upon the petitioners, it was argued.
The complainant opposed the plea saying whether petitioners have abetted or not to the commission of suicide is a matter of trial and it is for the petitioners to come out clean.
The bench noted that Abetment is the 'soul' of Section 306. If one abets or drives a person to the extent of commission of suicide, the offence would become punishable for abetment to suicide. Abetment is defined under Section 107 of the IPC. Therefore, the presence of ingredients of Section 107 of the IPC is sine qua non for an offence under Section 306 of the IPC, it held.
It referred to several decisions of the Supreme Court to reiterated that abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing a thing. "It should be a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid commission of suicide failing which such cases of conviction cannot be sustained as there should be clear mens rea on the part of the accused to drive the deceased for commission of such act.”
Further the bench observed that there must be mens rea and actus reus for an offence under Section 306 of IPC, as there must be a positive act to instigate in aiding suicide.
In the facts of the present case the Court said suicide had no proximity to any of the alleged instigations of the petitioners.
“They are legal proceedings taken up by the petitioners against the complainant and his family members. If the suicide note/death note is taken into consideration, it only narrates that in the month of October 2021 the petitioners had hurled abuses and have registered several proceedings against the complainant and his family members and therefore, the son commits suicide on 23-11-2021. There cannot be any proximity or any instigation which would drive the son of the complainant to commit suicide,” it held.
Accordingly, the Court quashed the proceedings.
Case Title: V V Singara Velu & ANR And State of Karnataka & ANR
Case No: CRIMINAL PETITION No.3095 OF 2022
Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (Kar) 233
Date of Order: 16-06-2023
Appearance: Senior Advocate Sandesh J Chouta a/w Advocate Lakshmikant G for petitioner.
HCGP K P Yashodha for R1.
Advocate S P S Khadri for R2.
Click Here To Read/Download Order