28 Aug 2021 8:15 AM GMT
The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has held that although different persons may react to a particular situation differently, mere refusal to repay a loan cannot in any way be considered to be an act of abetment to drive someone to commit suicide.In this regard, Justice Rajnesh Oswal added,"In order to constitute an offence of abetment, the act committed by the accused must be...
The Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court has held that although different persons may react to a particular situation differently, mere refusal to repay a loan cannot in any way be considered to be an act of abetment to drive someone to commit suicide.
In this regard, Justice Rajnesh Oswal added,
"In order to constitute an offence of abetment, the act committed by the accused must be of such nature so that the deceased must be left with no other option but to take extreme step of ending his life."
This observation was made by the High Court in a petition filed under Section 482 CrPC for quashing the challan arising out of FIR dated August 14, 2010 registered with Police Station Nowabad, Jammu for offences under Section 306 (Abetment to commit Suicide) of the Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), pending before the 2nd Additional Sessions Judge, Jammu and the order by virtue of which the charge for commission of offence under Section 306 had been framed against the petitioner.
The deceased Ghan Shyam, aged 35-36 years was a street vendor and his mother-in-law i.e. the present petitioner, was also in the same business. The deceased had allegedly given Rs. 73,000/- as loan to the petitioner for her business and was himself indebted to many people, as he had also borrowed money from them for his business.
Being harassed by his lenders to clear his debts, on December 7, 2009, the deceased demanded from the petitioner the money, which he had given to given to her as a loan and it led to verbal altercation between the two which led to the deceased to say that if the petitioner did not clear her dues towards him, he would kill himself, as he is being harassed by the debtors.
The petitioner had then told the deceased that at that moment she had no money to return and this prompted the deceased to take an extreme step of stabbing himself with a knife in the chest.
Submissions Before Court
Advocate Basit M. Keng for the petitioner submitted that there was not even an iota of evidence on record that the petitioner at any point of time abetted the commission of suicide by the deceased, as such, the proceedings pending before the trial Court were nothing but an abuse of process of law.
AAG Aseem Sawhney for the State said that the trial Court had passed the order of framing the charges on the basis of evidence before the Court and the instant petition deserved to be dismissed.
The Court was of the opinion that the allegations against the petitioner do not constitute an offence under Section 306 RPC. In order to charge a person for commission of offences under Section 306 RPC, there must be evidence on record that the accused abetted the commission of suicide by the deceased., noted the Court.
"One can be charged for the offence of abetment only when he instigates any person to do that thing or intentionally or engages with one or more other person in conspiracy for the doing of that thing or intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing," it said.
Reliance was placed on the Supreme Courts' observations in Vaijnath Kondiba Khandke v. State of Maharashtra & Anr. where it was held that merely because a superior officer assigned work to his junior officer and took actions against him like stopping of his salary, he cannot be held to have a guilty mind or criminal intent, to attract offence under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, for abetment of suicide.
In the instant case, the High Court observed,
"Though the different persons may react or respond to a particular situation differently but this court is of the considered opinion that mere refusal to repay the loan cannot in any way can be considered to be an act of abetment to drive the deceased to commit suicide."
It thus opined that the ingredients of offence under Section 306 of the RPC were absolutely lacking in the instant case and the trial Court had not considered this vital aspect of the case.
Accordingly, the impugned order was set aside and the petitioner was discharged for commission of offences under Section 306 RPC and the challan stood dismissed.
Also Read: Demand Of Outstanding Loan Amount From Defaulting Borrower Not Abetment To Suicide: Bombay High Court
Click Here To Download Judgment.