Court:ANDHRA PRADESH HIGH COURT
Bench: JUSTICE C.Y. Somayajulu
V. SHANKARAIAH Vs. STATE OF A.P. Decided on 11 February 2002
Abetment of Suicide : No Averment in Charge Sheet or Material on Record to Show Petitioner Either Induced Deceased to Commit Suicide or Aided Suicide of Deceased : He is not Liable to be Charge-sheeted for Offence under Section 306, I.P.C. : Proceedings Quashed. [Paras 6 and 7] Result : Petition allowed.
1. A3 in P.R.C. No. 72 of 2001 on the file of the Court of Judicial First Class Magistrate (East and North), Ranga Reddy District, filed this petition to quash PRC registered against him and two others for an offence under Section 306, I.P.C.
2. The case of the prosecution is that Kalyani (the deceased) felt humiliated and committed suicide because her marriage with A1 was cancelled after its settlement, so A-1 and his father A2 and paternal uncle (A3-the petitioner) are liable for punishment under Section 306, I.P.C., for the suicide of the deceased.
3. The contention of the learned Counsel for the petitioner is that since there is nothing on record to show that petitioner is responsible for the death of Kalyani (the deceased) or that petitioner had a role to play in the settlement of marriage between A1 and Kalyani, the question of petitioner abetting the suicide of Kalyani does not arise.
4. ‘Abetment’ in Section 306, I.P.C. has to be understood with reference to its definition given in Section 107, I.P.C. While considering the scope of Section 107, I.P.C. the Supreme Court in C.B.I. v. V. C. Shukla, III (1998) SLT 189=I (1998) CCR 333 (SC)=AIR 1998 SC 1406, observed, in para 50 at Page 1423 as follows:
: “…a person abets the doing of a thing when he does any of the acts mentioned in the following three clauses—
(i) instigates that person to do that thing;
(ii) engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that things;
(iii) intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.
So far as the first two clauses are concerned it is not necessary that the offence instigated should have been committed. For understanding the word ‘aid’ in the third clause it would be advantageous to see Explanation 2 in Section 107, I.P.C., which reads thus :
“Whoever, either prior to or at the time of the commission of the act, does anything in order to facilitate the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act.”
It is thus clear that under the third clause when a person abets by aiding, the act so aided should have been committed in order to make such aiding an offence…”
Clauses (i) and (ii) extracted above do not apply to this case because no ‘instigation’ by or ‘conspiracy’ between the petitioner and the other accused is alleged by the prosecution. The third clause also is not attracted because no ‘aid’ was given by the petitioner to the deceased when she committed suicide. Aiding Vol. I 191 suicide by a person can only be by positive acts of assisting in procuring the material required for suicide like a person supplying rope or other material for hanging, when a person expresses his desires to commit suicide by hanging, or supplying weapon or material like drugs, poison, etc. when the person intending to commit suicide (sic.) such aid, or if a person suggests the modes in which suicide can be committed like jumping into a river, lake or well, etc. to a person who intends to commit suicide.
5. In Sia Ram v. State of U.P., AIR 1975 SC 175, the Supreme Court held that in order to constitute abetment, the abettor must be shown to have intentionally aided the commission of the crime. It is clearly held that mere proof that the crime could not have been committed without the interposition of the alleged abettor is not enough compliance with the requirement of Section 107, I.P.C. Various High Courts have taken a view that merely because a person committed suicide by feeling insulted or humiliated, due to the comments or utterances made by the accused, the accused cannot be said to be guilty of an offence under Section 306, I.P.C. In Devraj v. State of H.P., 1991 (3) Crimes 383, a partner in a firm committed suicide due to the other partners (accused) taking away large sums of money out of partnership fund for various purposes and their not rendering an account to the deceased and for not permitting the deceased utilizing the profits. The other partners in the firm who are accused of an offence under Section 306, I.P.C. for the suicide of the deceased, were held to be not guilty of such offence. In Alka Grewal v. State of M.P., 2000 Cr.LJ 672, the woman was held to be not guilty of an offence under Section 306, I.P.C., for her husband committing suicide, after feeling insulted and humiliated due to her immoral conduct. The Court specifically held that though she may be the cause for suicide of her husband, she cannot be said to have abetted his suicide. In State of Gujarat v. Pradyuman Ramanlal Mehta, 1999 Cr.LJ 736, the publishers and others responsible for publication of a defamatory article are held to be not guilty an offence under Section 306 I.P.C. for the defamed persons suicide on feeling humiliated due to the defamatory publication. V. Adinarayana v. State of A.P., 2000 Cr.LJ 1182, is a case where a woman committed suicide when the accused threatened her that he would reveal her illicit connection to her husband. The accused was held to have not committed an offence under Section 306 of I.P.C. The Supreme Court in Mahendra Singh v. State of M.P., II (1996) CCR 570=1996 Cr.LJ 894, held that merely because the deceased woman stated in her dying declaration that she was harassed by the accused, the accused cannot be held guilty of an offence under Section 306, I.P.C.
6. It should be noted that ‘Suicide’ is not an offence, obviously because the person that committed suicide is not available to undergo the trial and punishment, but abetment of suicide, and its attempt, are made offences under Sections 306 and 309, I.P.C. respectively. From a reading of the old case law under Section 306, I.P.C., it can be seen that Section 306 was intended to cover cases of people instigating a Hindu widow to commit ‘Sati’ i.e., wife burning herself in the funeral pyre of her husband, which was prevalent at that time. When suicides by married women, due to harassment by their husbands and in-laws increased in an alarming proportion in the country, obviously finding that the provisions in the I.P.C. is not covering such suicides, the Parliament stepped in 1983 and introduced Section 498-A in I.P.C. and Section 113-A in the Evidence Act, enabling Courts to draw a V. SHANKARAIAH v. STATE OF A.P. 192 DIVORCE & MATRIMONIAL CASES 2003 presumption of abetment to commit suicide by the wife, if the husband and his relatives subjected her to cruelty within 7 years of her marriage. Subsequently, Section 304B, I.P.C. and Section 113B of Evidence Act also were introduced. Therefore, now, in the case of married woman commits suicide, within 7 years of her marriage due to harassment by her husband or his relatives by virtue of Section 113A of Evidence Act only Section 306 would come into operation but not otherwise.
7. Since there is no averment in the charge sheet or material on record to show that petitioner either induced the deceased to commit suicide or aided the suicide of the deceased, he is not liable to be charge-sheeted for an offence under Section 306, I.P.C. Therefore, P.R.C. No. 72 of 2001 on the file of the Court of Judicial First Class Magistrate (East and North), Ranga Reddy District, against the petitioner, who is shown as A3 therein, is quashed.