Supreme Court grants Maharashtra domicile candidate admission despite parent’s deployment.

Case title: Vansh S/O Prakash Dolas v. The Ministry of Education & The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare & Ors.

Case no.: Civil Appeal No(s). of 2024 (Arising out of SLP No(s). 26179-26180 of 2023)

Decided on: 20.03.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice B R Gavai, Hon’ble Justice Sandeep Mehta, Hon’ble Justice Rajesh Bindal


The case involved Vansh, the appellant, seeking admission under the OBC/NCL category as a domicile of Maharashtra. His admission was cancelled due to his father’s deployment outside Maharashtra as a paramilitary personnel. The appellant’s counsel argued that the cancellation was unjust and arbitrary, violating principles of natural justice. The appellant’s eligibility for admission was contested based on the deployment of his father, leading to a legal dispute regarding his rightful admission under the specified category.


Interpretation of admission rules and guidelines under NEET-UG, 2023.

Application of principles of natural justice and equality under constitutional law.

Consideration of precedents related to admissions and reservations in educational institutions.

Examination of legal provisions regarding domicile and admission eligibility criteria.


The appellant contended that he fulfilled the criteria for admission in the State quota under the OBC/NCL category as a domicile of Maharashtra. He argued that the cancellation of his admission was unjust and arbitrary, violating principles of natural justice. The appellant’s counsel also highlighted that the appellant’s father’s deployment outside Maharashtra should not have affected his admission eligibility.


The respondents contended that the appellant could not be considered for admission under the OBC/NCL category under the State quota because he did not meet the criteria specified in clauses 4.5, 4.6, and 4.8 of the Information Brochure. They also argued that the appellant did not stake a claim for admission in the defense personnel quota, so he could not have been given a seat under that category as per the guidelines in clause 9.4.4.


The judgment revolved around the appellant’s case of denial of admission in a medical course due to his father’s deployment outside Maharashtra. The court considered the constitutional duty to address injurious consequences arising from arbitrary and illegal actions, emphasizing the need for restitutive relief.The court discussed the challenges faced by candidates like the appellant, whose parents are in defense services and are deployed outside their domicile state. It highlighted the need to transcend the constraints of time and perform the primary duty of a constitutional court to control and regulate the exercise of power or arbitrary action.

In the judgment, the court found that the Division Bench of the Bombay High Court at Nagpur had erred in rejecting the writ petition filed by the appellant. The court held that the impugned judgment was unsustainable in facts and law, emphasizing the need to consider the case in the correct perspective. Ultimately, the court ruled in favor of the appellant, stating that candidates born in Maharashtra with domicile parents should be entitled to a seat under the Maharashtra State quota, regardless of the parent’s place of posting. The court recommended changes in guidelines to ensure that meritorious candidates like the appellant are not unjustly denied admission due to circumstances beyond their control.

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Judgement reviewed by – Ayush Shrivastava

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Reassessment proceedings against Castrol India initiated due to change in opinion are quashed by the Bombay High Court

Case Title:- Castrol Indian Limited Versus Deputy Commissioner of Income-tax Circle-1(2)(1), Mumbai and others

Case No: Writ Petition No.3079 OF 2022

Decided on: 5th March, 2024.



Facts of the Case:-

The petitioner is a firm that was established under the Companies Act of 1956 and is involved in the production and marketing of specialty oils, greases, lubricating oils, and brake fluids. Under Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, the petitioner incurred expenses of Rs. 10,54,06,706/- towards Corporate Social Responsibility (“CSR”) during the assessment year 2016–17. According to the petitioner’s income return for the relevant assessment year, which has been updated from time to time, their total income was Rs. 10,51,29,97,660. In accordance with Explanation 2 Section 37 of the Act, a disallowance was given for the amount of CSR in the income return. Additionally, the petitioner contended that Section 80G of the Act permitted the deduction of Rs. 1,79,41,595/- or 50% of the total donation. The petitioner’s income return was chosen for examination. In accordance with Section 142(1) of the Act, a notification was sent on September 14, 2019, following the start of assessment procedures, asking specifics and corroborating data regarding the deduction claim. In response, the petitioner sent a letter dated November 30, 2019, inviting another notice dated November 14, 2019, under Section 142(1) of the Act, asking for documentation of donations to support the deduction claim. The letter was likewise replied on November 30, 2019.A Section 143(3) of the Act assessment order was made on January 14, 2020, completely allowing the claimed reduction. Nevertheless, the petitioner was notified on March 27, 2021, in accordance with Section 148 of the Act, providing grounds for suspecting that income assessed for taxation during the applicable assessment year has evaded payment. Evaluation and mandated that the petitioner submit a return for the specified evaluation year. Petitioner agreed, filing its return on April 27, 2021, but asked for a copy of the documented grounds for reopening assessment from the Assessing Officer (“AO”). The petitioner filed its objections on August 28, 2021, in response to a letter dated July 30, 2021, which presented reasons to think that income was being fled. The AO dismissed the objections by the contested ruling dated December 21, 2021. This order, together with a notice dated March 27, 2021, claiming that income has evaded assessment.

Appellant Contentions:-

The reopening of the assessment was challenged by Mr. Parmarwala (learned Senior Advocate), appearing for the petitioner, on the ground that the jurisdictional conditions had not been met in the present case. As the AO had formed his belief on the grounds of an audit objection, which did not meet an objective criterion. He also argued that the assessment could not be reopened based on a change of view, and that the belief should be based on new and tangible material that had a rational and living connection to the belief. Parmarwala aligned the legal arguments with the facts of the case, stating that: The petitioner had not asserted that the expenses incurred as business expenses could not be deducted under Section 80G. Section 80G does not require deductions to be made in respect of expenditure incurred outside of the scope of the Act. The AO had formed its belief regarding the diversion of income as a result of an audit objection applications of mind and had previously rejected the audit’s objection. Petitioner had provided sufficient information regarding expenditure by way of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and deduction under Section 80G of the Act, which were made available in its annual accounts, tax audit report, and the calculation of income which had already been considered by the AO when passing the initial assessment order. Deduction under section 80G of the law was expressly mentioned in the calculation sheet which formed the basis of the assessment order. Petitioner has not been satisfied with the satisfaction of the sanctioning authority, which suggests that there was no such approval. Mr Pardiwalla submits that the notice and order at issue are unreasonable and disclose an arbitrary exercise of powers. He therefore requests the Court to annual and set aside the order.

Respondent Contentions:-

Mr. Suresh Kumar, learned counsel appears for the revenue and justifies the impugned order by contending that since the deduction of CSR expenses are specifically disallowed under Section 37(1) read with Explanation 2 of the Act, the same cannot be allowed under Section 80G of the Act. While candidly admitting the audit objection, he however, asserts that the same itself is a source of Gaikwad RD information and constitutes ‘fresh tangible material’. Mr. Suresh Kumar further points out that although an amount of Rs.10,54,06,706/- appears in the profit and loss account showing debit on account of CSR expenses under the head ‘other expenses. This includes donation expenses of Rs.3,58,83,189/-. This amount has not been separately debited in the profit and loss account which was never disclosed by petitioner directly or indirectly. Mr. Suresh Kumar relies on the affidavit in reply filed by the department to buttress the objectives of providing for CSR which is to share the burden of the Government in providing social services by companies having a net worth. Mr. Suresh Kumar has tried to unveil an alleged strategy by which petitioner firstly incurs CSR expenses, without claiming any deduction since the same are disallowed as business expenditure, but thereafter adding back the expenditure in the computation of income. Thus, the CSR expenses are treated by petitioner under two different heads, defeating the very public welfare purpose by converting the same as a tax saving tool. Mr. Suresh Kumar, thus, urges us to dimiss the petition.

Court Analysis and Judgement:-

From the perusal of the documents, two glaring facts emerge. One is that all material/documents necessary for computing the income was disclosed and submitted by petitioner during the course of assessment proceedings leading to an irrefutable conclusion that there was no failure on the part of petitioner to disclose fully and truly all material facts. Secondly, there is a notable absence of any fresh tangible material coming to the knowledge of the AO and the reopening of assessment is purely on a re-examination of the very same material on the basis of which the original assessment order was passed. However, Assessing Officers without appreciating the true import of the aforesaid decision of the Supreme Court, continue to reopen assessments on the ground of income having escaped assessment despite the fact that all the material and information was already available with him while passing the original assessment order.

Furthermore, while conclusive proof of escapement of income may not be necessary to reopen an assessment, the least that is required is a requisite belief based on fresh and tangible material which was not accessible to the AO or that which was deliberately withheld by Assessee, which then would amount to non-disclosure of relevant information. The finding of the Apex Court in Rajesh Jhaveri (supra) must not be used by AO to reopen assessments to review the original assessment order on the basis of a change of opinion of the AO, as done in the present case. Further, the reasons to believe notice itself indicates that the AO was already seized with information prior to passing of the original assessment order and as such, there is no tangible information on the basis of which he has allegedly formed the requisite belief. In these circumstances, we have no hesitation in holding that the notice dated 27th March 2021 under Section 148 of the Act in respect of income having escaped assessment and the order dated 21st December 2021 passed by the AO rejecting the objections of petitioner impugned herein, are untenable and cannot be sustained in law. The Petition is allowed.

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Judgement Analysis Written by – K. Immey Grace

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A modification cannot be presumed to be arbitrary for the sole reason that it was mooted by a MLA: SC

Case title: Sri Pubi Lombi Vs State of Arunachal Pradesh and Anr.

Case no.: CIVIL APPEAL NO. 4129 OF 2024

Decided on: 13.04.2024

Quorum: Hon’ble Justice J.K. Maheshwari, Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Karol


The case involved a transfer order of Sri Pubi Lombi, the appellant, from the Government Higher Secondary School (GHSS) Kanubari. The transfer was based on a U.O. Note from the Member of Legislative Assembly (MLA) of the Basar(ST) Assembly Constituency. The appellant challenged the transfer order, alleging malafide exercise of power. The Single Judge upheld the transfer, but the Division Bench of the High Court reversed this decision.


Article 226 of the Constitution of India: Jurisdiction of High Courts for issuing writs.

Union of India and others Vs. S.L. Abbas (1993) 4 SCC 357: Scope of judicial review and the need to implead persons against whom allegations of malafide are made.

State of Punjab Vs. Joginder Singh Dhatt; AIR 1993 SC 2486: Employer’s discretion in transferring public servants.


The appellant, Sri Pubi Lombi, contended that the transfer order based on the MLA’s note was a result of an arbitrary exercise of power. The appellant argued that the transfer was not in the exigencies of service or public interest but was solely based on the MLA’s recommendation. The appellant challenged the transfer order, alleging that it was not supported by administrative exigencies or reasons justifying the cancellation of the earlier transfer order.


The respondents, including the State of Arunachal Pradesh, supported the contention that the modified transfer order was passed in public interest after due consideration of the MLA’s U.O. Note. They argued that the Division Bench erred in setting aside the well-reasoned judgment of the Single Judge. The respondents emphasized that the transfer was made after the application of mind and in the interest of public service, contrary to the appellant’s claims of arbitrariness.


The court analyzed the principles laid down in previous cases regarding the scope of judicial review in transfer matters. It emphasized that judicial interference in transfer orders is not warranted unless there are allegations of malafide, violation of statutory provisions, or if the transfer is detrimental to the employee holding a transferrable post. The court noted that the appellant’s plea of malafide against the transferring authority was not agitated before the court, and there was no violation of any prescribed statutory provision.

Based on these considerations, the court held that the Division Bench erred in setting aside the judgment of the Single Judge. The court allowed the Civil Appeal, setting aside the Division Bench’s judgment and restoring the order of the Single Judge dated 11.07.2023. The court concluded that the transfer order was not issued in the exigencies of service or public interest but was a result of an arbitrary exercise of power, supporting the appellant’s contention.

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Judgement reviewed by – Ayush Shrivastava

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CASE TITLE:  Venkataraman Krishnamurthy and Anr. v. Lodha Crown Buildmart Pvt. Ltd.

CASE NO: Civil Appeal No. 971 of 2023

DECIDED ON: 1.03.2024

QUORUM:  Hon’ble Justice Sanjay Kumar


This Civil Appeal has been filed by the complainants aggrieved by the order passed by the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC). The respondent company was constructing a building wherein the appellant wished to buy an apartment. Hence, the appellant and the company entered an Agreement to Sell on 29.11.2023. After that, a four bhk flat in ‘Lodha Evoq’ was allotted to the appellants. As mentioned in the contract’s payment schedule, the appellants were supposed to make payments in four instalments, and the balance amount was to be paid at the time of fit-outs. When the complaint was filed, it was undisputed that the appellants were up to date with their payments in accordance with the contract. The contract further mentioned that the respondent party was supposed to hand out the apartment on two occasions: one for fit-outs by 30.06.2016 and the second for the offer of possession of the apartment along with the issuance of the occupancy certificate. A grace period of one year was given to the company in case of failure to provide the apartment on the aforementioned date. The company failed to comply with the terms and conditions by not giving the apartment on an earlier date. Hence, the appellants approached the NCDRC, praying for a refund of the amount they paid with a compound interest of @18% p.a., as well as compensation for the litigation costs and mental distress caused.

The respondent party is hereinafter referred to as the ‘OP’.

The NCDRC passed the following judgement:

The NCDRC directed the OP to give the entire physical possession of the property to the complainants within three months from the date this order was passed.

Both parties must inspect the property in question together, and in case of any deficiencies, the same must be reversed within 30 days of the inspection. The OP shall inform the complainants in writing after making the necessary changes and give them 15 days to complete the required formalities to be fulfilled to possess the property. The OP can also demand maintenance costs, such as car parking, club membership, etc., from the complainants. If the OP deems it necessary, it can take an indemnity bond from the complainants to pay taxes the authorities may likely demand in the future.

The OP shall bear compensation for delay in property transfer at simple interest 6% p.a. Parties are to bear their litigation costs. If the complainants wish to seek a refund, the OP shall be informed in writing within 15 days of the order. The OP shall refund the money after deducting the deposit amount within two months of the request made by the complainants.


The appellants contended that the respondent company did not comply with the contractual terms since they failed to offer the property for fit-outs on the time and date mentioned in the agreement. The possession of the apartment was to be delivered to the appellants on 30.06.2016 or extended by the grace period of one year.


The respondents contended that they had already obtained the occupancy certificate required before the expiry of the grace period. They informed the same to the appellants via email and asked them to make balance payments for the final property transfer. However, the appellants did not respond to the mail; hence, the respondent did not breach the contract. Additionally, they contended that the appellants wanted to terminate the contract due to the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax. They only want to avoid tax.


Regulation 6(7) of the Development Control Regulations, 1991.


The respondent company had obtained a ‘Part Occupancy Certificate’ from the Town & Country Planning Division of Mumbai instead of an Occupancy Certificate. The certificate was issued on the condition that the respondent company must finish the internal work before applying for a total occupancy certificate. The format was not in accordance with Regulation 6(7) of the Development Control Regulations, 1991. Moreover, the respondent company bypassed the date of offering the apartment for fit-outs. It directly offered possession of the apartment and could not even procure the full occupancy certificate, which cannot be overlooked as it is a severe breach of the terms of the contract. The appellants rightfully exercised their rights to terminate the contract and contended that they had not received any letter for the offer of property for fit-outs.

The NCDRC opined that the respondent company’s delay in issuing the flat was not unreasonable. But if the complainants still want to terminate the agreement and seek a refund, the respondent’s company shall return the amount they paid in full after reducing the deposit amount. Hence, it passed the aforementioned judgement. However, it cannot be contended that there was no delay in providing possession of the property since it can be deduced that the contract provided a full occupancy certificate. To this effect, the respondent party still has to issue an occupancy certificate.

The Supreme Court stated that when the parties enter into a contract outlining all the terms and conditions, they must abide by the same. If the contract provides for the actions to be taken in case of a breach, then such a method must be followed. If not, the complainants can legally enforce the same on the party at fault.

In the case of General Assurance Society Ltd. v. Chandumull Jain and another[1] relating to insurance documents, it was held that the court’s duty is limited to interpreting the documents rather than amending them. This changes the structure and substance of the contract; hereby, the court goes beyond its powers. Hence, however unreasonable the contract may be, it is not the court’s responsibility to make changes. The court must interpret the contract and apply the established terms and conditions. The same was reiterated in the case of Rajasthan State Industrial Development & Investment Corporation vs Diamond & Gem Development Corporation[2], Ltd. Shree Ambica Medical Stores vs Surat People’s Coop. Bank Ltd.[3] and GMR Warora Energy Ltd. vs Central Electricity Regulatory Commission[4].

The court said that the respondent company could not argue because the appellants accepted their proposal of delayed apartment delivery. The appellants were informed about the delay on two separate occasions. However, their response still demanded that the occupancy certificate be uploaded to the website to obtain a loan. The appellants were scheduled to see the property/apartment in question on 14.06.2017, which was delayed to August 2017 or later. It is unknown when the appellants were given the ‘part occupancy certificate’, but it is undisputed that after the expiry of the grace period, the appellants immediately sought to terminate the agreement by providing notice to the respondent company in writing. The appellants rightfully followed the terms and conditions of the contract. The respondents cannot infer the communication between the parties before the expiry of the grace period as a green signal by the appellants. It is not suggestive of their acceptance when they were not even aware of the full facts of the situation then. The fact that the appellants wanted to complete all the formalities to avoid the Goods and Services Tax is not grounds for them to be held against. The court observed that the urgency shown by the appellants due to the introduction of GST was justified and natural. Avoidance of tax does not amount to evasion of tax.

The respondent company relied on the case of Ireo Grace Realtech Pvt. Ltd. v. Abhishek Khanna[5] to pray for the reduction of interest rates. The court observed that the facts of this case do not apply to the current scenario. In this case, the contract provided that any delay after the expiry of the grace period shall allow the other party to terminate the contract and obtain a refund without any interest. Hence, in all fairness, the court ordered a refund with a 9% p.a. simple interest. In the instant matter, it has been explicitly laid down in the contract that an interest of 12% p.a. has to be paid along with the refund. Thus, the court does not hold the authority to amend the same.

The court further held that the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission (NCDRC) exceeded its power and authority. The court not only amended the terms and conditions of the contract but also set out the discourse to be taken by both parties, especially the appellants. The appellant company wished to terminate the agreement despite the offer of possession made by the respondents on 29.07.2017. Accordingly, the court has directed the respondent company to refund the amount the appellants paid in twelve equal monthly instalments. Post-dated cheques and a simple interest of 12% p.a will be paid. The first instalment must be paid on the 5th of April and the remaining on the fifth of each month till it is fully repaid.


In this judgement, the court reversed the NCDRC’s order. This judgement is crucial for determining the duties and powers of the judges when dealing with contractual cases. The court referred to various judgements and reiterated that the court’s power is limited to understanding the contract and applying the terms and provisions to the facts presented. Even in cases wherein the contract is arbitrary, the court must not amend a valid contract. This judgment also serves as a reminder to the parties entering into contracts to carefully devise and review the terms and conditions of the contract since they cannot change the same unless expressly provided for in the contract. The parties must be aware that even the omission of a task mentioned in the contract shall lead to a breach enforceable by the aggrieved party.

Judgement analysis written by- Rashi Hora

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[1] AIR 1966 SC 1644

[2] (2013) 5 SCC 470

[3] (2020) 13 SCC 564

[4] (2023) 10 SCC 401

[5] 5 (2021) 3 SCC 241


Words said in a fit of rage do not amount to abetment of suicide: Supreme Court.



DECIDED ON: 1.03.2024



The appellant has filed a special leave petition against the judgment passed by the trial court, and the high court dismissed the criminal revision petition. The trial court had convicted the appellant under section 306 of the IPC, sentencing him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years. It imposed a fine of Rs. 2000. If the appellant fails to pay the fine, he shall undergo strict punishment for four months.

The appellant was a tenant living in the deceased’s house. However, on the day of the incident, he was residing elsewhere since the term of his tenant agreement had ended. On 5.7.2000, when the deceased was returning home after dropping her sister’s kids at school, she saw the appellant waiting for her near Canara Bank. The appellant eve teased her, asking her to marry him. When the deceased did not respond, the appellant threatened to destroy her sister’s family, outraging their modesty and causing death. Upon arrival at the house, the deceased informed her sisters of the same and ingested poison. The neighbours saw the deceased lying on the floor in pain from the window and rushed to help. They opened the house door, and during this time, one of her sisters had also arrived with her husband. The deceased was taken to Nirmala Devi Hospital, after which she was relocated to Mission Hospital. She died on 06.07.2000 at 7:30 pm. Raju, the dead’s father, lodged an FIR on 07.07.2000 at 6:30 pm, alleging the appellant was liable for his daughter’s death. During the investigation, post-mortem was done, and the viscera of the deceased was sent for chemical analysis to the Forensic Science Laboratory, Bangalore. The doctor who did the examination stated that the death was caused by respiratory failure due to the consumption of a substance having Organophosphate. After the investigation, the police submitted the chargesheet, where the appellant was the accused.

The prosecution examined eleven witnesses and produced eleven documents as exhibits. The trial court gave its verdict after hearing both sides. The prosecution, beyond any reasonable doubt, had proved that the appellant was responsible for abetting the suicide of the deceased. Hence, the trial court convicted the appellant. As previously stated, the appellant had filed an appeal in the High Court of Karnataka, which upheld the judgement passed by the trial court and dismissed the petition. Following that, the aggrieved filed a special leave petition. The appellant was also granted bail contingent on the trial court’s satisfaction.


Section 107 of the IPC deals with abetment of a thing.

Section 306 of the IPC deals with abetment of suicide.

Section 309 of the IPC deals with attempt to commit suicide.

Section 161 of the CRPC deals with examination of witnesses by police.

Section 313 of the CRPC deals with power to examine the accused.

Section 374 of the CRPC deals with appeals from convictions.


The counsel for the appellant contends that the evidence produced by the prosecution has not been interpreted and analysed correctly since it does not aid the appellant’s conviction under section 306 of the Indian Penal Court. There are inconsistencies in the witness statements and the evidences produced by the prosecution which cannot be overlooked. It can be inferred that no case of instigation, abetment or conspiracy can be drawn against the appellant in this scenario.

The statements made by Prosecution Witness (PW) No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 12 are highly unreliable. The gaps in their testimony prove that they have improved and changed their story. The counsel for the appellant also revealed that the front of the right wrist of the deceased had a partially healed superficial linear incised injury. The prosecution has not explained the same. Since the injury was only partially recovered, it suggests it happened before the appellant teased her. This shows the appellant did not instigate her suicidal nature, and it might be something else. Although the deceased was hospitalised on 05.07.2000, the FIR was only lodged on 07.07.2000 at 6:30 pm. Additionally, the deceased had not told anyone about the appellant allegedly harassing her. Moreover, the appellant had gotten married two months before the incident took place so there was no reason for him to threaten, he was deceased making the accuracy of the prosecution’s case questionable.



The respondent asserts that the appellant has been convicted rightfully. The prosecution has proved his liability without any reasonable doubt before the trial court. Even the high court has upheld the impugned order. Hence, the question of credibility does not arise. There is no such rule in any legislation that a conviction cannot be made on the statements given by the family members. A simple reading of the witness statements of PW 1, 2 and 4 which is further substantiated by the testimony of PW 13 the doctor will point towards the appellant’s conviction. Hence, there is no substance in the case presented by the appellant.



The Court has thoroughly analysed the evidence in this case, and the revelations have been astounding. It has only served to weaken the case of the prosecution. The accused had lived on the ground floor of his house for five years till the tenancy period was over. The deceased used to take the children of Raju’s other daughter to school daily. During that time, the accused used to ask for her hand in marriage and, upon her refusal, threatened to murder her family. Upon further examination of PW 1, 05.07.2000 was corrected to 06.07.2000. This very day, the accused had threatened to pour acid on the deceased and her sisters and murder them. Raju was informed about the accused’s marital status only after the death of his daughter. He was unaware of his whereabouts after he left his house.

Meena, PW 2, is the deceased’s sister residing with her. She stated that she saw her father in the hospital the next day at around 5:00 pm. Additionally, her father resided with some other woman outside marriage. Meena’s testimony contradicts the claims made by her father about living in the same house and reaching the hospital by 1 pm. The behaviour of Raju, whose daughter had been admitted to the hospital because of the consumption of poison, is very abnormal.

According to PW 4, Shantha, the second daughter of Raju, the deceased, had telephoned her and told them that she had consumed poison because of the incident that took place earlier that day. They rushed to her residence and took her to the hospital with the help of neighbours who were already there. This again contradicts PW 1’s statement that he had come home at 10 am and received the news that his daughter had already been taken to the hospital. PW 8 and 9, who were amongst the neighbours who saw the deceased in an unconscious state through the window while the telephone was ringing, turned out to be hostile witnesses. Only PW 8 and 9 were examined among all the neighbours present, and the reasons for not examining the others are unknown. Both the neighbours turned out to be hostile witnesses, stating that they didn’t know the reason behind the girl’s death. They also stated that the police hadn’t recorded their statements. It is also pertinent to note that if the telephone receiver hung, how could it keep ringing? In addition to the inconsistencies and loopholes that have already dented the prosecution case, the court stated that the credibility of the evidence produced cannot be trusted.

The court referred to the case M. Mohan v. State[1] to look into the meaning of suicide. In this case, it was observed that since “Sui” means self and “cide” means killing, a clear inference can be drawn that suicide means self-killing. In the case of Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh[2], it was held that instigation refers to an act of provocation and encouragement. When someone is provoked to perform an act, it is instigation. It is immaterial whether the words are spoken or unspoken. The accused’s act must indicate the resultant circumstance or situation. However, words said in a rage will not be considered as instigation.

Thus, the court, in this case, has laid down essentials that need to be proved to convict an accused for the offence of abetment of suicide. They are as follows:

  • the accused constantly irritates and annoys the deceased with spoken words, actions, deliberate omissions and deliberate silence to provoke and compel the deceased to take action swiftly
  • it is very important to establish mens rea of the accused in doing the aforementioned acts, which goes hand in hand with instigation.

Another point which is pertinent to note is that when a person dies by the consumption of poison, traces of poison must be discovered in such cases. PW 13 testified that there were injection marks on the front of both elbows of the deceased, including a partially healed wound on the wrist of the deceased. When he received the final chemical analysis, he opined that the death was caused by respiratory failure due to the consumption of the compound organophosphate. In the instant case, the doctors who treated the deceased were not called upon by the court for their testimony. It would have been crucial since they could have given information regarding the compound’s amount and way of consumption. No evidence pertaining to the bottle or the container from which the deceased had consumed poison or any syringe or needle used to inject was retrieved by the police.  

The court said that there can be a plethora of reasons as to why a person can commit suicide. It can be due to societal pressures or some mental illness. Hence, suicide is not always abetted. In the present case, the appellant cannot be convicted of abetment to suicide when suicide itself has not been proven. Considering the defaults in the prosecution case, the Hon’ble Court quashed the order given by the trial court and subsequently upheld by the High Court. The appellant’s conviction under section 306 has been set aside, hereby acquitting him of all the charges. The appellant is already out on bail, so the bail bonds shall no longer be in effect.

[1] 1 (2011) 3 SCC 626

[2] (2001) 9 SCC 618

Judgement Written by-Rashi Hora

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