Abetment of suicide, Court highlights necessary ingredients of the offence punishable under Section 306 IPC: High Court of Delhi

The essential ingredients of the offence under Section 306 IPC are: (i) the abetment; (ii) the intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide. The act of the accused, however, insulting the deceased by using abusive language will not, by itself, constitute the abetment of suicide. There should be evidence capable of suggesting that the accused intended by such act to instigate the deceased to commit suicide. Unless the ingredients of instigation/abetment to commit suicide are satisfied the accused cannot be convicted under Section 306 IPC.” In context of the case no. CRL.M.C. 39/2020 and CRL.M.A. 194/2020 (Stay) Atul kumar versus State of NCT of Delhi & ANR. Counsel for petitioner Mr. Sarojanand Jha, Mr. Suraj Malik and Ms. Megha Shawani, Advocates. Counsel for respondent Ms. Neelam Sharma, APP for State with SI Sushil Sanwaria, DIU,Central Distt. Mr. Amarjeet Singh Sahni, Advocate for R-2 with R-2 in person. Judgement was passed by HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE MANOJ KUMAR OHRI.  The brief facts of the case are as follows: The petitioner is a resident of USA, having interest in antique vintage motorcycles. While doing an online search, the petitioner came to know that one M/s Palli Motors, belonging to the deceased, was involved in the business of sale/purchase of vintage motorcycles. As the contact details of the deceased along with photographs of the motorcycles were displayed on the website http://www.flickr.com/photos/pallimotors, the petitioner contacted the deceased through an e-mail dated 27.05.2011 and expressed his desire to purchase a vintage BSA or Triumph or other British motorcycle from him. The deceased vide his reply e-mail dated 30.05.2011 quoted the price for two different BSA motorcycles i.e., Rs.2,00,000/- for BB31 BSA 350CC and Rs. 2,70,000/- for WM20 BSA 500CC. The petitioner agreed to purchase the latter and as per instructions of the deceased, transferred a sum of USD 4,650 on 02.05.2012 in the account of one Narender Verma through banking channel, who acknowledged the receipt of the said amount through his E-mail dated 03.05.2012. Learned counsel for the petitioner further submitted that despite the receipt of complete payment in the year 2012, the deceased did not handover the possession of the vintage motorcycle. On 11.11.2014, the petitioner came to India and on legal advice, had a legal notice dated 19.11.2014 issued to the deceased and Narender Verma. Later, a criminal complaint dated 27.11.2014 for offences punishable under Sections 420/406 IPC read with Section 120B IPC was also filed by him at Police Station Anand Parbat, Delhi against aforementioned persons. The petitioner, thereafter, left India on the intervening night of 5th and 6th December, 2014. On 09.12.2014, the deceased committed suicide and left behind a suicide note naming the present petitioner as the reason for taking the extreme step. Counsel for the petitioner has contended that the petitioner only acted as per the legal advice given to him. Learned counsel for the respondent has vehemently opposed the present petition. He has laid emphasis on the suicide note to submit that the deceased was harassed by the petitioner despite having taken possession of the motorcycle in the year 2012. After coming to India, the petitioner had sent a legal notice and also lodged a false police complaint against the deceased as he wanted his other motorcycles to be serviced by the deceased free of cost. Learned counsel for respondent also challenged the filing of closure report and submitted that besides the petitioner, two police officials had also been implicated in the complaint. Even though the investigation was done by DIU, Rohini, the petitioner was let off despite his not having joined investigation only in order to give clean chit to the two police officials. On one hand, it is the case of the petitioner that the entire consideration having been paid in the year 2012, the vintage motorcycle was never delivered. On the other hand, the complainant’s case is that delivery of the subject motorcycle having been made in the year 2012 itself, the petitioner had lodged a false complaint against the deceased for harassment, solely for the purpose of getting his other motorcycles serviced by him free of cost. It is claimed that the delivery of the vintage motorcycle was made in the year 2012 to the petitioner’s authorized person but the requisite transfer documents were promised to be executed once he came to India.

It is relevant to quote Section 107 IPC which defines “abetment” as-

“Section 107- Abetment of a thing – A person abets the doing of a thing, who–

First. – Instigates any person to do that thing; or

Secondly.- Engages with one or more other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing; or

Thirdly. – Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

Explanation 1.- A person who, by wilful misrepresentation, or by wilful concealment of a material fact which he is bound to disclose, voluntarily causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, a thing to be done, is said to instigate the doing of that thing.

Explanation 2.- Whoever, either prior to or at the time of the commission of an act, does anything in order to facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby facilitate the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing of that act.”

The Judgement passed by Hon’ble High Court of Delhi states, “When the facts of the present case are analyzed in light of the legal principles extracted hereinabove, neither any live link nor any proximity between the acts of the petitioner and the act of committing suicide by the deceased is discernible. The requisite mens rea on part of the petitioner is also lacking. It cannot be said that the petitioner had abetted or instigated the deceased to commit suicide and that the deceased was left with no option but to commit suicide. This Court is of the opinion that necessary ingredients of the offence punishable under Section 306 IPC are not made out against the petitioner with the result that the petition is allowed and the impugned order passed by the learned ASJ directing the Trial Court to proceed with the matter, is set aside.”


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