Student's Suicide Case| Allahabad HC Sets Aside Trial Court's 'Non Speaking Order' Rejecting Discharge Plea Of School Principal, Teacher

Sparsh Upadhyay

9 Jan 2023 10:21 AM GMT

  • Students Suicide Case| Allahabad HC Sets Aside Trial Courts Non Speaking Order  Rejecting Discharge Plea Of School Principal, Teacher

    The Allahabad High Court last week set aside a 'non speaking' order of the trial court dismissing the discharge plea moved by the Principal and PT Teacher of a Lucknow-based School in a case registered against them under Section 305 IPC for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 12th Student by giving him corporal punishment.In its January 6 order, the bench of Justice Brij Raj Singh noted that...

    The Allahabad High Court last week set aside a 'non speaking' order of the trial court dismissing the discharge plea moved by the Principal and PT Teacher of a Lucknow-based School in a case registered against them under Section 305 IPC for allegedly abetting the suicide of a 12th Student by giving him corporal punishment.

    In its January 6 order, the bench of Justice Brij Raj Singh noted that the trial court, while dismissing the discharge plea, had not examined the facts of the case coupled with the requirement of offences under Section 107 (Abetment of a thing), 305 (Abetment of suicide of child or insane person) IPC and Section 227 (Discharge) CrPC.

    "The Court (referring to trial court) has to look into whether the entire material collected against the revisionists discloses the offence. The Court has not discussed the material and no finding has been recorded, even various judgments cited by the learned counsel for the revisionists have been mentioned but what law has been pronounced and how those cases are applicable or not applicable, has not been considered and decided," the Court observed as it found faults with the 2019 order of the Additional Sessions Judge-1st, Lucknow.

    The Court also noted that after stating the facts of the case, while passing judgment, the Court had not discussed the evidence on record and whether the evidence and material disclosed offence against the revisionists. The Court also observed that the operative portion of the Court was non-speaking and no reason had been assigned.

    Consequently, setting the order aside the order, the High Court remanded the matter back to the concerned court to take a fresh decision in the light of observations made in the HC's order in accordance with the law within a period of three months.

    The case in brief

    The Case dates back to the year 2016, when a class 12 student, who was studying at Cathedral Senior Secondary School, Lucknow, committed suicide at his home by shooting himself with his father's licensed pistol.

    As per the prosecution's case, he took the extreme as he felt humiliated due to the corporal punishment given to him by the principal and the PT teacher of the school (the accused) after he, along with his friend, was caught roaming outside the school and had met with an accident with his motorcycle ramming into a rickshaw.

    The FIR in the case was lodged by the father of the deceased student alleging that the accused used to harass and beat his son regularly and on December 3, 20216, both of them had beaten him and threatened to expel him.

    It was further stated in the FIR that revisionist no. 2 (PT Teacher) called the complainant to take his son from the school, and thus, he asked his wife to go to the school, however, when she reached the school, she was told that the deceased had been dropped to his home by the revisionist no. 2. To this, she went to her home, where she found that her son had committed suicide with a licensed revolver. Following the investigation, a chargesheet was filed in the case.

    The revisionists moved the HC challenging the chargesheet, and their plea was disposed of with the liberty to file a discharge application. They moved a discharge application before the Trial Court, which was dismissed in March 2019, challenging that very order, they moved the HC with the instant petition. 

    It was their primary argument that the deceased was only scolded by the Revisionists for getting into a road accident while riding a bike that too without a helmet and valid driving license, which was against the Code of Conduct of the Cathedral Sr. Secondary School and that it was their bounded duty to ensure the proper discipline of students in and outside the school premises.

    It was also argued that there was no eye witness corroborating that the deceased was mercilessly beaten by the Revisionists. Lastly, the trial court's order was challenged on the ground that the mandate of Section 227 of CrPC was not followed by the concerned judge while rejecting their discharge plea.

    In this regard, the counsel for the revisionists referred to various rulings of the Supreme Court including the order of Top Court in State of Karnataka Lokayukta, Police Station, Bengaluru. Vs. M.R. Hiremath, (2019) 7 SCC 515, where it was held that while taking decision in discharge proceedings, the Court must proceed on the assumption that material which has been brought on record by the prosecution is true and evaluate the material in order to determine whether the facts emerging from the material, taken on the face value, discloses the existence of ingredients necessary to commit the offence. 

    High Court's observations 

    At the outset, the Court rejected the argument of the complainant that at the stage of framing of charge, the Court has to consider the material on record only with a view to find out if there is a ground for presuming that the accused has committed the offence.

    "The Court has to evaluate the material and documents on record with a view to find out the facts emerging therefrom at their face value, disclose the existence of all the ingredients constituting the alleged offence or offences," the High Court observed.

    Further, perusing the evidence in the case, statements of the witnesses and the impugned order, the bench observed that in the instant matter, it was required to be seen as to how the offence for abetment of suicide under Section 305 IPC is made out and how direct and indirect evidence are there for incitement to commission of offence.

    "Whether the accused had instigated the deceased to commit suicide and whether they are involved in any manner so that the deceased committed suicide. The Court has to see that if any indiscipline had taken place by the deceased, whether the revisionists being Principal and Teacher, were under the duty to take appropriate action to maintain the discipline in the School," the Court further added as it noted that the matter required consideration in view of various pronouncements of Supreme Court.

    Conequently, the impugned order was set aside and the matter was remanded back to the trial court to take a fresh decision on the discharge plea movd by the Court within 3 months. 

    Case title - Melvin Saldanha And Anr. Vs. State Of U.P. And Anr. [CRIMINAL REVISION No. - 604 of 2019]

    Case Citation: 2023 LiveLaw (AB) 7

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