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In cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the commission of suicide : Madhya Pradesh High Court

The Madhya Pradesh High Court in the case of Naveen vs The State Of Madhya Pradesh (Criminal Appeal No.394/2022) upheld that in cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the commission of suicide. 

Facts of the case: In brief, the facts of the case are that on 22.04.2021, one Jagdish S/o Mathuralal Damor committed suicide by hanging in his field. Consequently, a Marg was registered and investigation ensued. During the course of investigation, it was found that the petitioner fraudulently and dishonestly, deceived the deceased Jagdish and took a sum of Rs.1,31,00,000/- (Rupees one crore thirty one lakhs only) from him for purchase of certain land with a promise to get him hefty profits, however, neither the land was purchased nor the amount was returned, which led to extreme mental agony to the deceased Jagdish who ultimately committed suicide on 22.04.2021. 

Learned counsel for the appellant had argued that the appellant has been falsely implicated in the case only with a view to extort extra amount from him by the family members of the deceased, i.e., in excess of which was actually given by the deceased to the appellant. The appellant and his brother Sanjay Choudhary had already returned money to the deceased through various cheques . Only a small amount remains to be paid to the deceased, which the appellant is also ready to pay to the family members of the deceased, however, in order to use their position and to extort money from the present appellant, he has been falsely implicated in the present case.

Judgment: There was a dispute between the appellant and the deceased Jagdish regarding the amount which Jagdish had given to various persons as directed and advised by the appellant. After the death of the deceased, various amounts had also been credited by the appellant in the account of the deceased, however, this in itself, in the considered opinion of the Court, would not be a circumstance exonerating the appellant at that stage of the charges levelled against him.

In such circumstances, it cannot be said that the family members of the deceased wanted to falsely implicate the appellant only with a view to extract or extort some additional amount. In cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the commission of suicide. 

The task before the High Court was to determine whether the allegations made in the first information report or the complaint, even if they are taken at their face value and accepted in their entirety did or did not prima facie constitute an offense or make out a case against the accused.

This is not a case where the High Court has arrived at a conclusion that the allegations in the FIR or the complaint are so absurd and inherently improbable on the basis of which no prudent person could ever reach a just conclusion that there is sufficient ground for proceeding against the accused. Nor is this a case where the criminal proceeding is manifestly mala fide or has been instituted with an ulterior motive of taking vengeance on the accused. On the contrary, the specific allegations in the FIR and in the complaint find due reflection in the suicide note and establish a prima facie case for abetment of suicide within the meaning of Sections 306 and 107 of the IPC. Criminal Appeal was dismissed.

JUDGMENT REVIEWED BY : SHUBHANGI CHAUDHARY

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