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In order to convict a person under Section 306, IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offense : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Siyaram Rathore vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh (Criminal Revision No.796 of 2022) upheld that in order to convict a person under Section 306, IPC for the offense of abetment of suicide there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offense.

Facts of the case: On 6/1/2022 the deceased Lokendra aged about 17 years committed suicide by hanging himself and accordingly, an information was given to the police by Purshottam. The dead body was sent for postmortem and the cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging and it was found to be suicidal. The Trial Court framed the charge under Section 306 of IPC. 

It was submitted that the only allegation against the applicants was that on 6/1/2022 at about 7 AM, the applicants had threatened ther deceased Lokendra by scolding that “in case if he is seen in the village, then he would be cut in pieces and his dead body would be thrown in the river and his parents will also be killed”. It was alleged that the deceased got frightened and accordingly, he went towards the well of Banke Gond. Beedha scolded the applicants as to why they were threatening his nephew, then he too was abused and was suggested to keep his nephew properly because his nephew is behaving improperly.

His niece came running and informed that Lokendra had committed suicide by hanging. It was submitted that the entire prosecution case was that the deceased Lokendra committed suicide because of threatening given by the applicants and that by no stretch of imagination it could be said that the applicants had ever abetted or instigated the deceased to commit suicide. 

Judgment: The court held that the intention of the Legislature is clear that in order to convict a person under Section 306, IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offense. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and this act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he/she committed suicide.

Mere giving a threat that in case if the deceased is seen in the village, then he would be cut into pieces, would not amount to abetement of suicide. There was no evidence that on previous occasions also any threat was ever given by the applicants. There was no evidence on record to show that there is any enmity between the applicants and the family members of the deceased. Thus, if certain words are uttered without any reason and background, then it cannot be said that the intention behind the said threat was to abet the commission of suicide.

Under these circumstances, the Court is of the considered opinion that even if the entire allegations were accepted as true, no case for trial of the applicants under Section 306 of IPC would be made out. Accordingly, The applicants were discharged. 

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

Click here to view the judgment

 

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