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Charges For Both Murder And Abetment Of Suicide Cannot Coexist, Charge In The Alternative Can Be Framed Against An Accused: Kerala High Court

LIVELAW NEWS NETWORK
3 March 2021 8:37 AM GMT
Charges For Both Murder And Abetment Of Suicide Cannot Coexist, Charge In The Alternative Can Be Framed Against An Accused: Kerala High Court
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In an order rendered on Tuesday, the Kerala High Court emphasised that a person could not be charged for murder as well as abetment of suicide simultaneously. A Single Judge Bench of Justice R Narayana Pisharadi underscored that the offences of murder and suicide, punishable under Sections 302 and 306 respectively, were 'mutually exclusive' and could not coexist. The Court...

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In an order rendered on Tuesday, the Kerala High Court emphasised that a person could not be charged for murder as well as abetment of suicide simultaneously.

A Single Judge Bench of Justice R Narayana Pisharadi underscored that the offences of murder and suicide, punishable under Sections 302 and 306 respectively, were 'mutually exclusive' and could not coexist.

The Court pronounced the order in response to a revision petition filed by a person whose wife had died by suicide in their home.

Prior to the suicide, she was allegedly repeatedly assaulted by the petitioner.

The medical officer who examined her found that her death was caused by the hanging as well as internal bleeding from the assault.

He had also opined that the injury to the chest by itself could have resulted in her death.

The Court explained that death could be accidental or caused by homicide or suicide.

While Section 302 presupposed an intention on the part of the assailant to kill the victim, punishment for abetment of suicide indisputably excludes homicidal death, the Court elaborated.

The High Court ruled,

"The offences punishable under Section 302 of IPC and Section 306 of IPC are mutually exclusive. The offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC presupposes commission of suicide. The offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC contemplates punishment for murder which presumes existence of intention on the part of the accused to kill the victim. Section 306 of the IPC envisages suicidal death and it undisputedly excludes homicidal death. Charges under both sections cannot co-exist."

Though charges under both Sections 302 and 306 could be framed in the alternative, they could not coexist, it was stated additionally.

Recording a finding that the charges were untenable ex facie, the Court proceeded to direct the Trial Court to frame charges afresh after hearing submissions of the prosecution and the accused.

The Court however, did not venture an opinion as to which of the charges were attracted in the case at hand.

Click here to read/download the order

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