Karnataka High Court
V V Singara Velu & ANR V. State of Karnataka & ANR
CRIMINAL PETITION No.3095 OF 2022
Bench- HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE M. NAGAPRASANNA
Decided On 16-06-2023
Facts of the case-
Accused No.1, who is the brother of the complainant, and Accused No.2, who is the wife of the complainant’s brother, are involved in a legal dispute regarding their father’s property. Accused No.1 has filed a partition suit (O.S.No.25938 of 2018) that is currently pending adjudication.
In relation to the property matter, Petitioner No.1 (Accused No.1) and his wife have lodged complaints against the complainant, his wife (Smt. Revathi), and their son, G. Vikram. However, on the night of November 23, 2021, G. Vikram, aged approximately 33, tragically took his own life by hanging himself in a room on the second floor of the residence. He left a death note accusing Petitioners 1 and 2 of confronting and threatening him near the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike Office in Bangalore in October 2021. According to the note, they had threatened to ruin his parents’ lives. This incident is believed to be the reason for G. Vikram’s decision to commit suicide.
Following the son’s death, a complaint was lodged, alleging that the petitioners (Accused No.1 and No.2) were responsible for his demise. The complaint led to the registration of a case (Crime No. 444 of 2021) under Section 306 r/w 34 of the Indian Penal Code, holding the petitioners as accused. Subsequently, the police conducted an investigation and filed a charge sheet, formally implicating the petitioners as accused in the aforementioned crime.
As a result, the petitioners have approached the Court with the present petition, challenging the filing of the charge sheet against them.
The court has quashed the prosecution initiated against a couple who were accused of abetting the suicide of their nephew through threats made during a property dispute. The bench emphasized that abetment is the essential element of Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). If an individual instigates or compels another person to the extent that they commit suicide, the offense would fall under abetment to suicide and become punishable. The definition of abetment is provided under Section 107 of the IPC. Therefore, the presence of the ingredients outlined in Section 107 of the IPC is necessary for an offense under Section 306 of the IPC, the court held.
In reaching this conclusion, the court referred to various Supreme Court decisions, highlighting that abetment involves a mental process of instigating or intentionally aiding someone in carrying out a particular action. The court emphasized that there should be a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in the commission of suicide. Without such a positive act, convictions in such cases cannot be sustained, as there must be clear mens rea (guilty mind) on the part of the accused to drive the deceased to commit such an act.
Furthermore, the court observed that for an offense under Section 306 of the IPC, both mens rea (guilty mind) and actus reus (guilty act) must be present. There must be a positive act of instigation or aid in suicide.
In the present case, the court noted that there was no proximity between the alleged instigations by the petitioners and the act of suicide. Consequently, the court quashed the proceedings against the accused.
JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY ABHAY SHUKLA
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