27 Sep 2023 10:40 AM GMT
The Telangana High Court recently held that merely uttering 'go and die' would not amount to instigation as defined under Section 306 IPC (abetment of suicide). The Division Bench of Justice K Lakshman and Justice K Sujana reiterated that words exchanged during an argument are said in the 'spur of the moment' and cannot be considered as ‘mens rea.’ "Mere uttering the words...
The Telangana High Court recently held that merely uttering 'go and die' would not amount to instigation as defined under Section 306 IPC (abetment of suicide).
The Division Bench of Justice K Lakshman and Justice K Sujana reiterated that words exchanged during an argument are said in the 'spur of the moment' and cannot be considered as ‘mens rea.’
"Mere uttering the words “go and die” will not constitute the offence under Section 306 of IPC. Even if we accept the prosecution story that the appellant did tell the deceased to “go and die” that itself does not constitute the ingredients of “instigation”... It is common knowledge that the words uttered in a quarrel or on the spur of the moment cannot be taken to be uttered with mens rea. In the present case also, the prosecution has failed to prove the mens rea.”
The Division bench noted that the Trial Court, without considering the contradictions in the evidence, had convicted the accused solely based on his statement wherein he asked the deceased to go and end her life by drinking poison.
A woman belonging to the Scheduled Tribe community was allegedly sexually harassed by the appellant, leading to her suicide. The appellant was thus convicted for offences under Sections 417 and 306 IPC, and Section 3(2)(v) of the SC/ST Act by the trial court.
Challenging this judgment, the appellant moved the High Court.
The prosecution argued that the accused instigated her suicide by refusing to marry her due to caste differences and asked her to 'go die'. There were disputes between the accused and the deceased, and a prior criminal case had been filed against the accused for his alleged harassment of the deceased.
The defence contended that the prosecution failed to prove the allegations against the accused beyond a reasonable doubt. They argued that the evidence did not conclusively establish that the accused's actions led to the victim's suicide. Additionally, there were inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence provided by the witnesses.
The Court examined the definition of abetment under Section 107 IPC and emphasised that to establish abetment under Section 306 IPC, it must be proven that the accused's actions had a direct role in prompting the suicide. The court cited precedents that cautioned against equating ordinary quarrels or disagreements with abetment to suicide.
It was also noted that the deceased had fixed her marriage with someone else which was admitted by her mother as well.
"the mother of the deceased had admitted in her cross-examination that they settled the marriage of the deceased with another person and the same was cancelled after printing of wedding cards which shows that she agreed to marry another person than the accused in which case, refusal of the accused to marry could not be the reason for suicide."
Thus, the court found that the prosecution had not provided sufficient evidence to prove the guilt of the accused.
Therefore, the court set aside the judgment and ordered the release of the accused, provided he was not required in any other criminal case.
The appeal was accordingly allowed.
Counsel for petitioner: P. Prabhakar Reddy
Counsel for Respondent: T.V. Ramana Rao
Case Title: JANGAM RAVINDER vs. State of AP
Click Here To Read/Download Judgment