Read Judgment: Velladurai vs. State Represented by the Inspector of Police

Pankaj Bajpai

New Delhi, September 15, 2021: Quoting the decision in case of Amalendu Pal vs. State of West Bengal, the Supreme Court has ruled that mere harassment without any positive action on the part of the accused proximate to the time of occurrence which led to the suicide would not amount to an offence u/s 306 IPC.

The Division Bench of Justice M.R Shah and Justice Aniruddha Bose observed that in order to bring a case within the provision of Section 306 IPC, there must be a case of suicide and in the commission of the said offence, the person who is said to have abetted the commission of suicide must have played an active role by an act of instigating or by doing a certain act to facilitate the commission of suicide.

The background of the case was that both the accused and his wife had consumed pesticide after a quarrel happened between them. The accused survived, but his wife died. This resulted in filing of complaint by brother of the deceased.

Accordingly,a chargesheet was filed against the accused for the offence u/s 306 IPC and the Trial Court convicted him and ordered for rigorous imprisonment both under IPC and u/s 4(b) of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act. This conviction was upheld by the High Court.

The Top Court noted that the marriage between the appellant accused and the deceased took place before 25 years. Therefore, the presumption u/s 113-A of the Evidence Act shall not arise.

Further, abetment by a person is when a person instigates another to do something, and instigation can be inferred where the accused had, by his acts or omission created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide, added the Court.

In the instant case, the allegation against the appellant is that there was a quarrel on the day of occurrence. There is no other material on record which indicates abetment. There is no material on record that the appellant-accused played an active role by an act of instigating the deceased to facilitate the commission of suicide”, noted the Division Bench.

Therefore, observing that even the appellant-accused also tried to commit suicide and consumed pesticide, and that there was no other material on record which indicated abetment, the Apex Court concluded that both the High Court as well as the Trial Court had committed an error in convicting the accused for the offence u/s 306 IPC.

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