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Everyone Has Different 'Suicidability Pattern', Seemingly Deceased Was Hyper-Sensitive: Jharkhand HC Quashes Charges For Abetment Of Suicide

Shrutika Pandey
17 May 2022 10:45 AM GMT
Jharkhand High Court, Railway Protection Force Officer, RPF, Enquiry, House Search, Enquiry, Search Warrant, Section 165 CrPC, RPF Officer, Railway Property (Unlawful Possession) Act, Justice Anubha Rawat Choudhary,

While quashing charges for abetment of suicide against an applicant-accused, the Jharkhand High Court recently emphasized on varying "suicidability patterns" of different persons and observed that seemingly the deceased in the instant case was 'hyper-sensitive' and could not control her emotions which led to her taking such an extreme step.

Justice N.K. Chadravanshi noted that there was nothing on the record, which would prima facie show that applicant harassed her in any manner or played any direct or indirect act or instigation, as a consequence of which, deceased was compelled to commit suicide.

The remarks were made in a revision petition preferred against the order of Additional Sessions Judge framing charges against the applicant-accused under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

The police received information that the complainant's daughter had committed suicide by hanging herself in his home. Based on the report, a merg inquiry was launched where it was found that the deceased was having a love affair with the applicant. He was said to have physically abused the deceased and broke his promise to marry her. This caused a lot of stress to the deceased, which led her to take such an extreme step. An FIR was filed based on the inquiry findings under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

After usual investigation, the charge-sheet for the alleged offence was filed against the applicant, pending consideration before the Additional Sessions Judge, Baikunthpur, District Koria. The ASJ framed a charge under Section 306 of the IPC against the applicant through the impugned order.

On a perusal of the relevant provision pertaining to the abetment to suicide, the Court observed that a person is said to 'instigate' another to an Act when he actively suggests or stimulates him to the act by any means of language, direct or indirect, whether it takes the form of express solicitation, or hints, insinuation or encouragement. "The word 'instigate' means to goad or urge forward or to provoke, incite, urge or encourage to do an act," it added.

It further noted that it is the duty of the prosecution to establish that such a person has abetted the commission of suicide. To determine the accused's act, it is necessary to see that his actions must fall in any of the three ingredients as enumerated under Section 107 of the IPC. Therefore, it is necessary to prove that the said accused has instigated the person to commit suicide or must have engaged with one or more persons in any conspiracy to seek that the deceased commits suicide or he must intentionally aid by any act or illegal omission, of the commission of suicide by the deceased.

The Court referred to the case of Sanju @ Sanjay Singh Sengar v. State of Madhya Pradesh, where it was held that mere words uttered by the accused to the deceased 'to go and die' were not even prima facie enough to instigate the deceased to commit suicide.

It also referred to the case of Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), where it was held that there should be an intention to provoke, incite or encourage the doing of an act by the accused. This decision also noted that each person's suicidability pattern is different from the other, and each person has their idea of self-esteem and self-respect. In the said judgment, it is held that it is impossible to lay down any straitjacket formula dealing with the cases of suicide, and each case has to be decided based on its facts and circumstances.

Reliance was placed on the decision in Amalendu Pal @ Jhantu v. State of West Bengal, where it was held that before holding an accused guilty of an offense under Section 306 IPC, the court must carefully examine the facts and circumstances of the case and also assess the evidence adduced before it to find out whether the cruelty and harassment meted out to the victim had left the victim with no other alternative but to put an end to her life.

In the instant case, the Court observed that while there are chances that intimacy might have developed in the relationship of the applicant and the deceased, it cannot be the only reason to claim that the applicant abetted the deceased to commit suicide. It opined that every person has a right to choose his better half for his life according to his wish, and nobody can compel him/her to do things against his/her wishes.

"There is no reasonable nexus and proximity with the conduct and behaviour of the applicant with that of the suicide committed by the deceased in order to constitute the offence under Section 306 of the IPC," it concluded and discharged the applicant-accused.

Case Title: Ashish Kumar Rajwade v. the State of Chhattisgarh

Citation: 2022 LiveLaw (Jha) 55

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