11 Jan 2021 7:43 AM GMT
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has made it clear that demanding outstanding loan from a defaulting borrower cannot be said to constitute an offence of abetment to suicide. "The demand of outstanding loan amount from the person who was in default in payment of loan amount, during the course of employment as a duty, at any stretch of imagination cannot be said to be any...
The Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court has made it clear that demanding outstanding loan from a defaulting borrower cannot be said to constitute an offence of abetment to suicide.
"The demand of outstanding loan amount from the person who was in default in payment of loan amount, during the course of employment as a duty, at any stretch of imagination cannot be said to be any intention to aid or to instigate or to abet the deceased to commit the suicide," a Bench of Justices VM Deshpande and AS Kilor has held.
The Court was hearing a criminal application moved by one Rohit, seeking quashing of an FIR registered against him by the Maharashtra Police under Section 306 of IPC.
It was alleged in the FIR that the Petitioner harassed the deceased, Pramod Prakash, for repayment of loan, which ultimately led him to commit suicide.
The Petitioner's counsel had contended that the allegations against him were only in respect of demand of outstanding loan amount does not amount to any intention of applicant to abet the deceased to commit suicide.
"Abetment involves mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing and without a positive act on the part of the accused in aiding or instigating or abetting the deceased to commit suicide, the said persons cannot be compelled to face the trial."
Reliance was placed on Amit S/o Ashok Naharkar v. State of Maharashtra, & Anr., 2018 SCC Online Bom 1399.
In the instant case, the deceased had taken a loan of Rs. 6,21,000/- from Mahindra and Mahindra Financial Service Limited for purchasing new vehicle. Whereas as per the contract the deceased was liable to re-pay the loan amount in four years by giving monthly installment of Rs.17,800/-, he had paid only Rs.15,800/- and had assured that he will pay remaining amount later on.
In the FIR it was alleged that applicant did not listen the request of the deceased and started harassing the deceased. It was the further case of the prosecution that on mobile phone also deceased was harassed. The suicide note written by deceased was seized which indicates the involvement of the applicant in the crime.
In this backdrop, the APP submitted that because of demand of outstanding loan amount, the deceased was under tremendous mental pressure, which was the cause for commission of suicide by the deceased.
The Division Bench observed that the allegations against the accused were only to the effect that the he demanded outstanding loan amount from the deceased, which was the part of his duty being employee of the Finance Company.
The Bench referred to the case of Amit Naharkar (supra) where also an employee of a Finance Company was implicated in a criminal case pertaining to suicide of a man, allegedly for requesting re-payment.
In that case, it was held that it is necessary for the prosecution to at least prima facie establish that accused had an intention to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide.
In a similar case in Santoshkumar v. State of Maharashtra, 2020 SCC online Bom 914, the High Court had held that "If previous loan amount is outstanding and if the applicant, who is Branch Manager of the said Bank, is refusing to grant any further loan, can be said as act of a vigilant and prudent banker and if he is not granting any further loan, it cannot be termed that by such act he instigated and/or abetted the person to commit suicide."
Accordingly, the Division Bench quashed the impugned FIR and held that none of the requirement of Section 306 of Indian Penal Code is being satisfied.
Case Title: Rohit S/o Nawanath Nalawade v. State of Maharashtra
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