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To hold a person liable for abetting suicide, active role is required which can be described as instigating or aiding in doing thing. : High Court of Odisha

Human beings by their very intrinsic nature of being individualistic react and behave differently in different situations because of the personal meaning they add to each event, thus accounting for individual vulnerability to suicide. A single- judge bench comprising of  Justice S.K. Panigrahi adjudicating the matter of Somanath Sahu v. State of  Odisha (BLAPL No.3623 of 2021) dealt with the issue of whether to grant bail to the present petitioner or not.

In the present case, the petitioner is in custody and seeks bail under section-439 of CrPC which is pending before the learned District & Sessions Judge, Angul. The Petitioner is acuused of the commission of offence punishable under Section 306 of the I.P.C. Prior to the instant application, the petitioner also approached the learned Sessions Judge, Angul.

As per the facts of the case, Artatrana Sahu filed an FIR on 17.06.2020 at 5.00 P.M. before the Chhendipada Police station stating that his daughter Puspanjali (now deceased) left her home on on 14.06.2020 saying that she had to attend nature’s call at a nearby river. However, unfortunately, she did not return. The complainant searched for his daughter in the vicinity as well as relatives houses but could not find her. On 17.06.2020 at 12 noon, the body of the deceased was found hanging from a tree on the said river bank.

The process of investigation commenced and according to the post mortem report the cause of death was due to hanging  and there was no signs of f force, sexual assault, the death was opined to be suicidal in nature. It was also noted that the “whole body was distinctively decomposed” to the extent that the body was covered with maggots, flies and larva. A chiffon dupatta belonging to the deceased was used for the hanging which left a V shaped ligature mark around her neck. No other discernible marks or injuries were found on the body of the deceased. During the course of the investigation, a phone was recovered which was belonging to the deceased from which it was found that three numbers were frequently contacted. The three numbers belonged to the present petitioner, one Sanjay Behera and one Sunil Dehury. It is relevant to note here that Sanjay Behera has been absconding since then and a non-bailable warrant has been issued against him. Acting purely on suspicion and in the light of uncovering of facts from a few people of the area, it was suspected that the petitioner and the deceased had probably shared a relationship. Thereafter, the present petitioner was arrested and forwarded to judicial custody on 06.07.2020 for allegedly abetting the suicide of the deceased.

It was contended that there is no prima facie case against the petitioner. The Petitioner was nowhere connected to the offenses and has been falsely implicated. No incriminating materials as such was found and hence he should not be kept in custody. In the absence of any direct evidence to the contrary and keeping in mind that on the date of occurrence the petitioner was not present in the village, the petitioner is liable to be released on bail.

The Respondents stated that the petitioner is the prime accused who compelled the victim to commit suicide and exploited her by falsely assuring of their marriage.

It was observed that it is necessary to examine the scope of bail in cases involving Section 306 of the I.P.C. Recently the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that the freedom of an individual cannot be curtailed for indefinite period, especially when his/her guilt is yet to be proved. It has further held that a person is believed to be innocent until found guilty. The offence of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of IPC has twin essential ingredients: (i) a person commits suicide (ii) such suicide was abetted by the accused. This offence involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. To hold a person liable for abetting suicide, an active role is required which can be described as instigating or aiding in doing thing.

There is no answer as to why suicides occur because it is impossible to ever fully comprehend or analyze what goes on inside a person’s mind. Suicidal ideation and behaviors in human beings are complex and multifaceted. Human beings by their very intrinsic nature of being individualistic react and behave differently in different situations because of the personal meaning they add to each event, thus accounting for individual vulnerability to suicide.

The Court held “although some witnesses seem to suggest a love relationship between the petitioner and deceased, the nature of the evidence that has been forthcoming does not meet the standards required to prove that the petitioner abetted the suicide of the accused. The fact as to what the degree of intimacy and affinity of the petitioner and deceased shared is a matter that can only be unearthed at the stage of the trial.” Also,” There is a complete lack of any proof produced before this Court showcasing how or which acts of the petitioner led him to allegedly commit the offence of abetting the deceased’s suicide.”

Hence bail shall be granted to the Petitioners.

Click here for the Judgement

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