Read Order: Manju v. State of Haryana 

Monika Rahar

Chandigarh, February 15, 2022: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has granted bail to the petitioner whose mother-in-law committed suicide while leaving behind a suicide note containing allegations against the petitioner, on the ground (among others) that although there were allegations made against the present petitioner, there was no specific instance, which was detailed therein. 

The bench of Justice Vikas Bahl made the above-mentioned observations in light of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Shabbir Hussain v. The State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors., Special Leave to Appeal (Crl.) No.7284 of 2017 wherein it was held that for bringing a case within Section 306 IPC, there must be a case of suicide and the persons who are stated to have abetted the said commission of suicide, must have played an active role by an act of instigation or by doing a certain act which facilitates the commission of suicide and mere harassment would not constitute the offence under Section 306 IPC. 

The matter was placed before the court in form of an application for the grant of regular bail in an FIR registered against the petitioner under Section 306 IPC. This FIR was registered after the mother-in-law of the petitioner committed suicide while leaving behind a suicide note having allegations against the petitioner. 

It was the case of the petitioner’s counsel that no specific incident was mentioned in the alleged suicide note that could implicate the petitioner in the case and no overt act was attributed to the petitioner. The petitioner’s non-involvement in another matter as also the fact that nothing was to be recovered from her, and that no case of harassment was made on an earlier occasion by the deceased or the complainant against the petitioner, were some of the factors highlighted by the counsel to strengthen his case for grant of bail to the petitioner who has been in custody since August 2021.

On the contrary, the State counsel opposed the present petition for regular bail and submitted that in the present petition, there was a suicide note written by the deceased, which held the present petitioner to be responsible for his commission of suicide.

At the outset, the Court made reference to the case of Gangula Mohan Reddy v. State of Andhra Pradesh, (2010) 1 Supreme Court Cases 750 in which the Supreme Court held that abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing and without there being a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing of suicide, the conviction cannot be sustained and that in order to convict a person under Section 306 IPC, there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence and also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide. 

On the factual aspects of the case, the Court observed at the outset that as mentioned in the suicide note as well, the marriage between the petitioner and son of the deceased was performed about six months prior to the incident in question, yet there was no complaint filed by the deceased or by the complainant against the present petitioner alleging harassment. Further, after perusing the suicide note, the Court observed that apart from the generic allegations levelled against the petitioner, no specific instance was cited in detail to corroborate the guilt of the petitioner. 

Moreover, the Court was of the considered opinion that the question of whether on the basis of the said allegations, an offence under Section 306 IPC was made out or not, would be a matter of trial. 

Further, while showing agreement with the case advanced by the petitioner’s counsel, the Court noted that no recovery was to be affected from the petitioner and that the petitioner was in custody since August 2021. The Court also considered the fact that the charge sheet was already presented and out of 19 prosecution witnesses who were presented none were examined. 

Thus, while allowing the instant petition, the petitioner was ordered to be released on bail.

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