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“The High Court of Karnataka Grants Anticipatory Bail to Rape Accused Due to Lack of Evidence of Coercion or False Promises in Allegations.”

Case Title – Varun Kumar Vs. State of Karnataka

Case Number – Criminal Petition No. 2020/2024

Dated on – 18th April 2024

Quorum – Justice Rajendra Badamikar

FACTS OF THE CASE

In the Case of Varun Kumar Vs. State of Karnataka, the Appellant, Varun Kumar, instituted a petition under Section 438 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 seeking anticipatory bail in apprehension of his arrest in Crime No. 50/2024 of the Jnanabharathi Police Station, Bengaluru. The present case concerns the allegations of offenses under Section 376(3) of the and Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 as well as Section 4(2), 5(L) and 6 of the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act, 2012 (POCSO Act). The Complainant in the present case (further referred herein as “Victim”) claimed that the Appellant started profaning her on Instagram, when she was in the minor age of 16 years old in 2018, despite her disinterest. The Victim accused the Appellant of frequently raping her from 2019 to 2023 in various locations on the pretence of uploading on social media, the intimate pictures taken by him of the Victim.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANTS

  1. The Appellant, through their counsel, in the present case contented that the relationship between the Appellant and the Victim was consensual and that it started when both were majors.
  2. The Appellant, through their counsel, in the present case contented that the family of the Victim is influential and is behind the allegations put forth on the Appellant.
  3. The Appellant, through their counsel, in the present case refused any coercion or false promise on the pretext of a marriage and affirms that their families initially were in support of their relationship and approved the same.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENTS

  1. The Respondentss, through their counsel, in the present case contented that the Appellant committed rape and exploitation under the pretence of love and marriage.
  2. The Respondentss, through their counsel, in the present case contented that the influence of the Appellant poses a menace of fiddling with witnesses and evidence.
  3. The Respondentss, through their counsel, in the present case contented that the recent demise of her father, the Victim is vulnerable.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

  1. Section 376(3) of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes the Punishment for committing the offense of Rape of a woman under the age of Sixteen years as rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than twenty years which may extend to life imprisonment which shall mean the natural life of the person as well as fine as required for the medical expenditures as well as the expenditure of rehabilitation of the victim.
  2. Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes the Punishment for committing the offense of Cheating as imprisonment for either description of a term which may extend to seven years as well as fine.
  3. Section 4(2) of the POCSO Act, 2012 prescribes the Punishment for committing penetrative sexual assault on a woman less than sixteen years of age as imprisonment for a term not less than twenty years which may extend to the natural life of the person as well as fine.
  4. Section 5(L) of the POCSO ACT, 2012 defines Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault.
  5. Section 6 of the POCSO ACT, 2012 prescribes the Punishment for committing Aggravated Penetrative Sexual Assault on woman below the age of sixteen years as rigorous imprisonment for a term not less than twenty years which may extend to life imprisonment which shall mean the natural life of the person as well as fine.

ISSUES

  1. The main issues in the present case revolves around whether the carnal relationship between the Appellant and the Victim was consensual or coerced?
  2. Whether the Appellant poses a menace of fiddling with the evidences or witnesses?
  3. Whether the influence of the Appellant or the family background of the Victim affects the case?

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT

The court in the case of Varun Kumar Vs. State of Karnataka, observed the consensual relationship between the Appellant and the Victim which lasted for several years. The court focused on the influential family background of the Victim and questioned the reliability of the allegations put forth against the Appellant and that the delay in instituting the complaint and the continued relationship between the Victim and the Appellant raised doubts on the legitimacy of the allegations against the Appellant. The court, taking into consideration, the facts and circumstance of the present case, grants the anticipatory bail to the Appellant, imposing certain conditions to ensure his coordination with the process of investigation.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Sruti Sikha Maharana

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Procedures to be followed in cases where protest petition is to be treated as a separate complaint: SC

Case title:-Mukhtar Zaidi V. The State of Uttar Pradesh

Case no:- criminal appeal no. of 2024 (arising out of SLP (CRL.) NO.9122 OF 2021)

Dated on:- 18th April 2024

Quorum:- Justice Vikram Nath

Facts of the case

Respondent no.2 lodged a First Information Report before the CJM, Aligarh in case No. 129/2020 under sections 147, 342,323,307, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The same was investigated and after investigation the police submitted report under section 173(2) Cr.p.c, according to which the investigating officer found that no evidence could be collected which could substantiate the allegations made in the FIR. The said report was submitted to the Court concerned whereupon notices were issued to the informant. The informant filed a Protest Petition along with affidavits to show that the investigation carried out by the Investigating Officer was not a fair investigation. The CJM, by order dated 08.03.2021 rejected the police report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. and further proceeded to take cognizance for offences under Sections 147, 342, 323, 307, 506 of the IPC and under Section 190 (1) (b) of the Cr.P.C. and also directed that the matter would continue as a State case. Accordingly, it summoned the accused, fixed 30th April, 2021. This order of cognizance and summoning the present appellant was assailed before the High Court by way of a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. registered as Application u/s.482 No.15273 of 2021. The said application has sine been dismissed by the High Court giving rise to the present appeal.

Contentions of the appellant:-

CJM had relied upon not only the Protest Petition but also on the affidavits of witnesses which were filed along with the Protest Petition to support the contents of the complaint. Once the CJM was relying upon additional material in the form of evidence, along with the Protest Petition then the only option for the CJM was to treat it as a complaint under Section 200 Cr.P.C. and proceed accordingly. The said case could not have been continued as a State case and should have been treated as a private complaint. Once additional evidence was being relied upon which had been filed along with the Protest Petition then the only option open was to treat it as a private complaint and after following the due procedure in Chapter XV of the Cr.P.C.

Contentions of the respondant:-

CJM did not take into consideration any additional evidence filed in the form of affidavits along with the Protest Petition. He only relied upon the material collected during the investigation as contained in the case diary. Based upon the same, CJM rejected the police report and took cognizance which was within his domain and such cognizance would fall within Section 190(1)(b) Cr.P.C.

Legal Provisions:-

Section 190(1)(a) Cr.P.C- issue of summons

Section 200 Cr.P.C- Examination of the complainant

Section 482 Cr.P.C- inherent power of High Court

Section 173(2) Cr.P.C- police report

Issues:-

How the Magistrate would proceed under Section 190 Cr.P.C., once the Investigating Officer had submitted a closure report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C?

Courts judgement and analysis:-

Where initially the complainant has not filed any complaint before the Magistrate under Section 200 CrPC, but, has approached the police only and where the police after investigation have filed the ‘B’ report, if the complainant wants to protest, he is thereby inviting the Magistrate to take cognizance under Section 190(1)(a) CrPC on a complaint. 

 If it were to be so, the Protest Petition that he files shall have to satisfy the requirements of a complaint as defined in Section 2(d) CrPC, and that should contain facts that constitute offence, for which, the learned Magistrate is taking cognizance under Section 190(1)(a) CrPC.

 If it is to be simply styled as a Protest Petition, without containing all those necessary particulars that a normal complaint has to contain, then, it cannot be construed as a complaint for the purpose of proceeding under Section 200 CrPC.

However, in the present case as the Magistrate had already recorded his satisfaction that it was a case worth taking cognizance and fit for summoning the accused, the Magistrate ought to have followed the provisions and the procedure prescribed under Chapter XV of the Cr.P.C. 

 

Accordingly, the appeal was allowed to set aside the orders passed by the High Court as also the CJM, Aligarh. However, it is open for the Magistrate to treat the Protest Petition as a complaint and proceed in accordance to law as laid down under Chapter XV of the Cr.P.C

“PRIME LEGAL is a full-service law firm that has won a National award and has more than 20 years of experience in an array of sectors and practice areas. Prime legal fall into a category of best law firm, best lawyer, best family lawyer, best divorce lawyer, best divorce law firm, best criminal lawyer, best criminal law firm, best consumer lawyer, best civil lawyer”.

Judgement reviewed by- Parvathy P.V.

 

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Procedures to be followed in cases where protest petition is to be treated as a separate complaint: SC

Case title:- Mukhtar Zaidi V. The State of Uttar Pradesh
Case No:- criminal appeal no. of 2024 (arising out of SLP (CRL.) NO.9122 OF 2021)
Dated on:- 18th April 2024
Quorum:- Justice Vikram Nath
Facts of the case
Respondent no.2 lodged a First Information Report before the CJM, Aligarh in case No. 129/2020 under sections 147, 342,323,307, 506 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The same was investigated and after investigation the police submitted report under section 173(2) Cr.p.c, according to which the investigating officer found that no evidence could be collected which could substantiate the allegations made in the FIR. The said report was submitted to the Court concerned whereupon notices were issued to the informant. The informant filed a Protest Petition along with affidavits to show that the investigation carried out by the Investigating Officer was not a fair investigation. The CJM, by order dated 08.03.2021 rejected the police report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C. and further proceeded to take cognizance for offences under Sections 147, 342, 323, 307, 506 of the IPC and under Section 190 (1) (b) of the Cr.P.C. and also directed that the matter would continue as a State case. Accordingly, it summoned the accused, fixed 30th April, 2021. This order of cognizance and summoning the present appellant was assailed before the High Court by way of a petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. registered as Application u/s.482 No.15273 of 2021. The said application has sine been dismissed by the High Court giving rise to the present appeal.
Contentions of the Appellant:-
CJM had relied upon not only the Protest Petition but also on the affidavits of witnesses which were filed along with the Protest Petition to support the contents of the complaint. Once the CJM was relying upon additional material in the form of evidence, along with the Protest Petition then the only option for the CJM was to treat it as a complaint under Section 200 Cr.P.C. and proceed accordingly. The said case could not have been continued as a State case and should have been treated as a private complaint. Once additional evidence was being relied upon which had been filed along with the Protest Petition then the only option open was to treat it as a private complaint and after following the due procedure in Chapter XV of the Cr.P.C.
Contentions of the Respondent:-
CJM did not take into consideration any additional evidence filed in the form of affidavits along with the Protest Petition. He only relied upon the material collected during the investigation as contained in the case diary. Based upon the same, CJM rejected the police report and took cognizance which was within his domain and such cognizance would fall within Section 190(1)(b) Cr.P.C.
Legal provisions:-
Section 190(1)(a) Cr.P.C- issue of summons
Section 200 Cr.P.C- Examination of the complainant
Section 482 Cr.P.C- inherent power of High Court
Section 173(2) Cr.P.C- police report
Issues:-
How the Magistrate would proceed under Section 190 Cr.P.C., once the Investigating Officer had submitted a closure report under Section 173(2) Cr.P.C?
Courts judgement and analysis:-
Where initially the complainant has not filed any complaint before the Magistrate under Section 200 CrPC, but, has approached the police only and where the police after investigation have filed the ‘B’ report, if the complainant wants to protest, he is thereby inviting the Magistrate to take cognizance under Section 190(1)(a) CrPC on a complaint.
If it were to be so, the Protest Petition that he files shall have to satisfy the requirements of a complaint as defined in Section 2(d) CrPC, and that should contain facts that constitute offence, for which, the learned Magistrate is taking cognizance under Section 190(1)(a) CrPC.
If it is to be simply styled as a Protest Petition, without containing all those necessary particulars that a normal complaint has to contain, then, it cannot be construed as a complaint for the purpose of proceeding under Section 200 CrPC.
However, in the present case as the Magistrate had already recorded his satisfaction that it was a case worth taking cognizance and fit for summoning the accused, the Magistrate ought to have followed the provisions and the procedure prescribed under Chapter XV of the Cr.P.C.

Accordingly, the appeal was allowed to set aside the orders passed by the High Court as also the CJM, Aligarh. However, it is open for the Magistrate to treat the Protest Petition as a complaint and proceed in accordance to law as laid down under Chapter XV of the Cr.P.C
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Judgement reviewed by- Parvathy P.V.

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“Supreme Court Validates Lower Court’s Acquittal in Karnataka State Case.”

Case Title – Parteek Bansal Vs State of Rajasthan and Ors.

Case Number – Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No. 2520/2017

Dated on – 6th March,2017

Quorum – Justice Vikram Nath

FACTS OF THE CASE

In The Case of Parteek Bansal Vs State of Rajasthan and Ors., the Appellant and the Respondent No. 3 initially met each other online in June 2014. The father of the Respondent No. 3, who is the Respondent No.2 in the present case, visited the appellant in Udaipur, the appellant who is a Chartered Accountant based in Hisar, was approached by the Respondent No.2 regarding a wedding proposal for his daughter, the Respondent No. 2 in the present case, who was at the time working as the Deputy Superintendent of Police in Udaipur, Rajasthan. The engagement of the Respondent No. 3 and the appellant took place in Udaipur on 18th February,2015 followed by a wedding on the 21st of March,2015. However, on 10th October, 2015, the Respondent No. 2 filed a complaint against the appellant at the Hisar Police Station under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. A similar complaint was also filed by the Respondent No. 2 at the Udaipur Police Station on the 15th of October,2015, five days later of the complaint, leading to the registration of FIR NO. 156 on the 1st of November,2015. Initially, the first FIR registered in Hisar implicated several family members of the appellant, but after conducting further investigation, only the appellant was proceeded with the charge under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Thereafter, the trail commenced against the appellant in the court of the Judicial Magistrate First Class, Hisar. Concurrently, the appellant filed a petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure,1973 before the High Court of Rajasthan and sought to quash the second FIR registered in Udaipur. However, the High Court of Rajasthan dismissed the petition on the 6th of March, 2017 citing the precedence of the complaint in Udaipur and lack of awareness by the Rajasthan Police regarding the earlier complaint in Hisar. Being aggrieved by the decision of the High Court of Rajasthan, the appellant appealed the case before the Supreme Court of India, which further stayed for investigation in the Udaipur FIR until further orders. Adhering to the decision of the High Court of Rajasthan, the trial in Hisar concluded and the Trial Court acquitted the appellant on the 2nd of August, 2017. The judgment and the acquittal order revealed that the prosecution called upon several witnesses, including the Investigating Officer and other members of the police force. However, they were unable to bring forward the complainant and the victim to testify during the proceedings of the court, resulting in the conclusion of the evidence of the prosecution and proceedings with the statement recording of the appellant under Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 before ultimately acquitting the appellant.

CONTENTIONS OF THE APPELLANT

  1. The appellant, through their counsel, in the said case pointed out two complaints, the acquittal judgments and the ostensible errors in the impugned orders and that these errors lead to the series of events, with the complaint at Udaipur was former than that at Hisar and secondly, the Rajasthan Police having no knowledge of the proceedings being conducted at Hisar.
  2. The appellant, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the complainants were well-aware of the multiplicity of the complaints registered in Hisar as well as the Udaipur Police Station but they did not take any requisite step to withdraw their complaint stating that it was wrongly registered in Hisar or that it may be transferred to Udaipur for the purpose of investigation.
  3. The appellant, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the impugned proceeding were nothing but an abuse of the process of law and that the only motive of the complainant was to harass the appellant and make him face the prolonged trial of the courts.

CONTENTIONS OF THE RESPONDENT

  1. The respondent, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the court at Hisar had no territorial jurisdiction to conduct the trial of the present case as the offense was committed in Udaipur. Therefore, the acquittal judgment delivered by the Hisar Court was void.
  2. The respondent, through their counsel, in the said case contented that the complaint should have been looked into and investigated by the Rajasthan Police. However, because of the interim order issued by the court, the investigation had been stalled. Therefore, the petition should be dismissed.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

  1. Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes the punishment for Husband or Relative of Husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty
  2. Section 482 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 prescribes the punishment for using a false property mark
  3. Section 313 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 prescribes the power to examine the accused.

ISSUES

  1. The main issue in the present case revolves around whether the filing of two FIRs for the same incident is valid?
  2. Whether the decision of the High Court to dismiss the petition was appropriate, considering the circumstance and timing of filing of the FIRs in both the jurisdictions?
  3. Whether the trial adhered to the principles of a fair and just trial and due process?
  4. Whether the acquittal was justified on the basis of the inability of the prosecution to present important witnesses?

 COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGMENT

The court in the case of Parteek Bansal Vs State of Rajasthan and Ors., observed that the Respondent No. 2 and 3 were misusing their official powers by lodging complaints one after another. The court, further, observed that the deportment of the Respondent No. 2 and 3 of not presenting themselves before the Trial Court in Hisar nor withdrawing their complaint, signifies their sole intention to harass the appellant.  The court observed that even before this court, the respondent no. 2 and 3 vigorously opposed the quashing of the FIR in Udaipur. It was alleged in the FIR filed in Hisar that the Respondent No. 2 and 3 demanded a sum of Rupees 50,00,000 and an Innova Car while visiting the appellant. Thus, the court was of the opinion that the argument that no offense was committed in Hisar but only in Udaipur was incorrect. The court stated that the misuse of the state machinery for ulterior intentions and harassment of any individual warrants castigation. Therefore, the court imposed costs on Respondent No. 2 to compensate the appellant. The court in the present case, allowed appeal and quashed the order of the High Court as well as the proceedings registered as FIR No. 156/2015 dated 1st November,2015 at the Women Police Station, Udaipur are also quashed. The court ordered the Respondent No. 2 to pay costs of Rupees 5,00,000/- (Rupees Five Lacs Only), which was ordered to be deposited mandatorily with the Registrar of the Court within four weeks. The court stated that upon deposit of the total amount specified, % shall be paid to the appellant and another % shall be transferred to the Supreme Court Legal Service Committee.

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Judgement Reviewed by – Sruti Sikha Maharana

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

CASE TITLE: KUMAR @ SHIVA KUMAR V. STATE OF KARNATAKA

CASE NO: SLP CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1427 OF 2011

DECIDED ON: 1.03.2024

QUORUM: HON’BLE JUSTICE UJJAL BHUYAN

FACTS OF THE CASE

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.

LEGAL PROVISIONS

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.

APPELLANTS CONTENTIONS

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.

 

RESPONDENT CONTENTIONS

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.

 

COURT ANALYSIS AND JUDGEMENT

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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