When Does an Insurance Policy Become Effective? Supreme Court Clarifies Policy Commencement Date.

CASE TITLE – Reliance Life Insurance Company Ltd. & Anr. v. Jaya Wadhwani

The Branch Manager, Reliance Life Insurance Company Co. Ltd. v. Usha Soni

CASE NUMBER – 2024 INSC 10 (Neutral Citation)

DATED ON – 03.01.2024

QUORUM – Justice Vikram Nath & Justice Rajesh Bindal



The sole question involved in these appeals is as to what would be the date from which the policy becomes effective. The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum2, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission3 and the National Commission have proceeded on the basis that the date of issuance of the initial deposit receipt of premium is the date of commencement of the Policy and have accordingly allowed the complaint filed by the respondent.

In the appeal of Jaya Wadhwani, the quotation of Policy was issued on 14.07.2012. The proposal form was submitted by the life assured on 14.07.2012. Receipt of the Cheque dated 13.07.2012 was also issued on 14.07.2012. On 16.07.2012, the Policy was issued and at all relevant places, it was mentioned in the policy that the date of commencement of the policy would be 16.07.2012. On 15.07.2013, the life assured committed suicide. In the appeal of Usha Soni, the date of submission of proposal form by the life assured is 26.09.2012. The date of issue of policy as also the date of commencement of policy was 28.09.2012. The date of next premium due was 28.09.2013. As the next premium was not paid, the policy lapsed. The assured paid the next premium on 25.02.2014 and the lapsed policy was reinstated from that date. On 03.06.2014, the life assured committed suicide.



Whether the Policy would take effect from the date on which the policy is issued or the date of the commencement mentioned in the policy or it would be the date of the issuance of the deposit receipt or cover note.



The Hon’ble Supreme Court analyzed that the Clause relevant for consideration, was Clause 9 of the Policy conditions and privileges and the terms and conditions mentioned therein, which reads as follows:

“Suicide: The Company will not pay any claim on death if the Life Assured, whether sane or insane, commits suicide within 12 months from the date of issue of this Policy or the date of any reinstatement of this Policy.”

The Court observed that the Grace period is 30 days under Clause 1(iv) of the terms and conditions. Clause 5 mentions that the policy would lapse. Clause 6 provides for reinstatement. In the case of Usha Soni However, since the renewal amount was not paid within the time allowed, the policy stood lapsed and subsequently, upon payment of the premium against the lapsed policy on 25.02.2014, the policy was reinstated from the said date. The life assured committed suicide on 03.06.2014, which the Hon’ble Supreme Court stated was well within the period of 12 months. In the case of Jaya Wadhwani, the proposal form, no doubt, was submitted on 14.07.2012 with respect to the cheque dated 13.07.2012 of the premium amount wherein also it was mentioned that the receipt is issued subject to the clearance of the cheque and further that the insurance protection shall only be provided effective from the date of acceptance of the risk, which happened on 16.07.2012, when the policy was issued and the date of commencement was notified to be the same date. The Court stated that 14th July 2012, therefore, cannot be taken to be the date of issuance of policy. It is only the date of issue of receipt of the initial premium. The date of issue of policy being 16.07.2012 is actually the date from which the policy commences and becomes effective. period of 12 months from 16.07.2012 will complete on 15.07.2013. It would be the last day of 12 months as from the next day, i.e., 16.07.2013 the next month will start. Unfortunately, the incidence of suicide is on 15.07.2013, the last day of 12 months. The Hon’ble Supreme Court held that in view of the above, the stand taken by the appellant should be approved, and Accordingly, the orders passed by the District Forum, the State Commission, and the National Commission are to be set aside and the claims of the respondent were rejected.


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Judgement Reviewed by – Gnaneswarran Beemarao

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Common Divorces Do Not Count As Aiding Suicide Without Additional “Instigation” :Kerala High Court

Case Title:- Dr.Radhika Kapahtia Versus State of Kerala and others

Case No:- CRL.MC No.3412 of 2021

Decided on :- 20th March,2024

Quorum:- Bechu Kurian Thomas, Judge.

Facts of the case:-

Both the petitioner and her spouse were specialists in Kochi’s Amrita Institute of Medical Sciences Hospital. The petitioner’s spouse used an injection to end his life on September 11, 2018 with toxins. The spouse is said to have taken the drastic action due to marital conflict. At first, an offense for unnatural death was reported under section 174 Cr.P.C.; however, the legislation was later changed to section 306 IPC, and the petitioner was charged with aiding and abetting suicide. The final report, submitted on June 15, 2020, said it was claimed that the wife’s exposure to specific personal recordings of her husband with his ex-girlfriend after their marriage caused marital strife. The arguments and squabbles had a severe emotional toll on the husband, which led to his suicide and the leave of two suicide notes. The accused is of encouraging the suicide by allegedly harassing her husband on a regular basis and disparaging the deceased. The petitioner’s husband committed suicide on September 11, 2018, although the two purported suicide letters are dated July 14, 2018, and August 28, 2018. According to the prosecution, the two notes provide enough proof of assistance. For the purposes of this action, it is assumed that the notes are suicide notes even though they were written approximately 58 days and 14 days respectively, before the date of suicide. It was acknowledged that the petitioner’s husband had booked a room in an Ernakulam hotel, injected himself with poison and killed himself. The petitioner was not in the room or in the surrounding area. Reading the afore mentioned two suicide letters simply reveals that the pair frequently argued. There is absolutely no mention of the petitioner doing anything to encourage or assist her spouse in ending his life. The letters suggest that some of their premarital events have plagued them resulting in arguments and squabbles between them. Nothing suggests that the accused’s actions and her husband’s suicide were related in any way let alone that they were instigated by one another.

Petitioner Contentions:-

Sri. C.C. Thomas, the learned Senior Counsel assisted by Adv. Nireesh Mathew, learned counsel for the petitioner contended that the prosecution allegations even if admitted would not make out the offence under section 306 IPC and hence the proceedings are liable to be quashed. It was contended that the alleged suicide notes recovered did not indicate any act done by the petitioner falling within the purview of abetment under law. The learned Senior Counsel argued that merely because one of the parties to a marriage decided to end his life even if it be on account of quarrel between the couple. The same cannot mulct the spouse with the offence of abetment of Suicide.

Respondent Contentions:-

Sri. Joseph Kodianthara, learned Senior Counsel assisted by Adv. Aashique Akthar Hajjigothi on behalf of the second respondent submitted that the contentions now raised before this court are matters which require appreciation of evidence and hence the same cannot be interfered with under section 482 Cr.P.C. The learned Senior Counsel referred to the decision in Mahendra K.C. v. State of Karnataka and Another (2022) 2 SCC 129 and submitted that the repeated and continued acts of mental cruelty and torture could amount to abetment. It was also submitted that it is too premature a stage for this court to interfere.

Court Analysis and Judgement:-

In the instant case, the suicide notes were written weeks before the act of suicide and not in close proximity to the date of suicide. There is no reference to any instigation by the accused to prompt the deceased to commit suicide. A reading of the two suicide notes only indicates that the deceased felt the need to commit suicide. There is a death of material in the final report or the further final report, which can indicate any intention on the part of the accused to goad the deceased to commit suicide. Other than ordinary quarrels between the spouses, no overt acts have been allegedly committed by the accused to stimulate or prod the deceased to commit suicide. By no stretch of imagination can the alleged acts of the accused, in the instant case, amount to instigation to commit suicide. Taking into reckoning the above circumstances, this Court is satisfied that the admitted allegations in the final report and in the further final report do not constitute the ingredients of the offence of Section 306 IPC and the prosecution of the petitioner, who is a Medical doctor, is an abuse of the process of court. Hence all further proceedings in C.P. No.9/2021 on the files of Judicial First Class Magistrate’s Court-II, Ernakulam arising Out of Crime No.1936/2018 of the Ernakulam Central Police Station are hereby quashed. This criminal miscellaneous case is allowed as above.

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Judgement Analysis Written by – K.Immey Grace

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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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Essential Elements Has To Be Met To Attract The Offence Under Section 306 Of IPC: High Court Of Chhattisgarh

Title: Shaila Singh vs. State of Chhattisgarh

Citation: CRMP No. 1441 of 2017

Decided on: 20 Oct 2023

Coram: Chief Justice Hon’ble Shri Ramesh Sinha


This petition under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for quashing of the charge-sheet and FIR registered for the offence punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code  in Crime No.126/2016, and quashing of the charge dated 18.09.2017


Husband of the deceased, namely, Naresh Yadav who is a government teacher had introduced a government scheme relating to Prime Minister. The scheme introduced is Vikas Kaushal Scheme and the benefits under the aforesaid scheme, any institution works, then they will be able to get Rs. 10,000 per student on the condition that the student will firstly have to deposit Rs. 12,000.

petitioner provided about Rs. 10 Lakhs to the husband of the deceased for the aforesaid Kaushal Vikas Yojna with the help of Leela’s Foundation. , Naresh Yadav had dishonestly not returned the share of the money to the concerned institution including the institution of the petitioner, who has already spent about Rs. 10 Lakhs for the benefit of aforesaid scheme. 

husband of the deceased in whose account the Leela’s Foundation has deposited the huge money of the institutions but Naresh Yadav stated that he had not taken back the amount from the Leela’s Foundation even he has not returned the money to the investor including the present petitioner.

On the date of incident petitioner came to know that the wife of Naresh Yadav along with her three children had consumed some poisonous substance i.e. Harpic and written a suicide note. children survived while the wife of Naresh Yadav expired, hence the prosecutors has filed charge sheet against the petitioner for an offence under section 306 of the IPC.

The learned trial Court, vide order dated 18.09.2017, without there being any ingredients against the present petitioner, has framed charges under Section 306 of the IPC read with Section 107 of the IPC against the petitioner. petitioner has also filed an application under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instrument Act against the husband of the deceased which indicates that the husband of the deceased, namely, Naresh Yadav had taken money from the petitioner.

Court’s Analysis and Judgment:

The petitioner submits that neither in the dying declaration nor in the F.I.R. there is any material indicating that the petitioner has committed the crime of abetment. It is further submitted that there is no mens rea on the part of the petitioner to commit the offence.

Its argued that suicide was not the last option left, The present petitioner, who allegedly made a demand from the husband of the deceased to repay the loan amount, the deceased never made any complaint to the police authorities nor moved before any higher officials of the Police Department. From the respondent’s side it is submitted that petitioner has harassed and abbeted the wife, which led to the her committing the suicide.                                                                                                                      

Hon’ble court decided that he necessary ingredients to atteact the offcnce under section 306 are not met in the present case, hence the court held that the charges made by trail court on petitioner are not sustainable.

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Written By: Sushant Kumar Sharma

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Decoding Section 306 IPC: Karnataka High Court Emphasizes the Importance of Positive Act of Instigation in Suicides

Karnataka High Court

V V Singara Velu & ANR V. State of Karnataka & ANR



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.


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