0

A casual remark that is likely to cause harassment in ordinary course of thing, made against the applicants would not fall within the term ‘instigation’: Gujarat High Court

Pravinbhai Jivrambhai Deria vs State Of Gujarat on 23 May, 2023

Bench: Honourable Justice Ilesh J. Vora

R/CRIMINAL MISC.APPLICATION NO. 11161 of 2016

Facts

In the instant case, the second respondent had filed a complaint on behalf of the deceased(his brother) who committed suicide at his village. The deceased was driving a rickshaw for his livelihood. He had borrowed Rs.6 lakh from accused Nos.1 to 10 and was paying unbearable amount of interest. The deceased, however could not repay the principal amount as well as the interest, as a result, he was under tremendous pressure and distress. Before he could commit suicide, he wrote a letter addressed to PSI, Gadh Police Station, mentioning therein the harassment meted out to him by the accused, on the issue of borrowed money. He mentioned that the accused did not extend the time to repay the money and threatened him to take away his rickshaw and did not allow him to do his business.

In this circumstance, the deceased Hasmukhbhai consumed poisonous substance and committed suicide. Being in critical condition, he was taken to Palanpur Civil Hospital where his statement in the form of dying declaration was recorded by the Executive Magistrate, Palanpur, wherein, he disclosed the facts of borrowed money allegedly taken from persons named in the statement. The investigating officer had also recorded the statement of the deceased on the same day under Section 161 of the Cr.P.C., wherein, the reasons for his suicide having been disclosed before the police and subsequently, he died at Civil Hospital. Under section 161, an investigating officer may orally examine any witness where such person is acquainted with the facts of the case.

The second respondent based on the input gathered by him at the hospital, lodged an FIR against 10 persons, including the applicants. After completion of investigation of the case, the IO filed a chargesheet against the accused for the aforesaid offences.

The applicants have instituted the case to quash the petition mainly on the ground that the charge against them under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code is not sustainable and the continuation of the proceedings against them is nothing, but a sheer abuse of process of law and Court.

The learned counsel appearing for the applicants contended that the FIR lacks the ingredients of section 306 of IPC(Abetment of suicide) as there is an absence of any sort of instigation or any positive move on the part of the applicants, causing the deceased to commit suicide

On the other hand, the counsel for the informant contended that since material evidence like the suicide note, dying declaration has been recovered, there is a prima facie case made out against the applicants.

Judgement

The honourable judge, after going through the facts and circumstances of the case held that the accusations of harassment and preventing the deceased in doing his business of rickshaw driving seem to be general in nature and vague. There are no specific allegations made against the applicants that they individually subjected mental harassment on the issue of finance advanced by them. In such circumstances, prima facie it appears that the deceased was in depression as he could not repay the handy loan obtained from various persons, as a result, he decided to end his life.

The contents of the suicide note and the statement of the deceased does not anyway disclose any incriminating information in the nature of instigation, provocation or compelling the deceased to commit suicide. Due to these reasons, the Court quashed the FIR against the applicants

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY AMIT ARAVIND

click here to view judgement

“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.”

0

Mens rea and Intention are two crucial elements to invoke the provision of Section 306 of IPC(abetment of suicide): Gujarat High Court quashes charges against the applicants

Ashwinbhai Mansukhbhai vs State Of Gujarat

Bench: Honourable Justice Ilesh J. Vora

R/CRIMINALMISC.APPLICATION NO. 2749of 2021

JUDGMENT DATED: 24/05/2023

Facts

In the instant case, the deceased Ashok Chavda, employee of Rajkot Municipal Corporation committed suicide by hanging himself in Hotel Miracle at Ahmedabad. He was recruited as a labourer and work charge employee. On 10.11.2012, deceased along with other employees of the same cadre were transferred from Malaria branch to Drainage branch at Bedinaka, Rajkot. The applicant – Chirag Pandya being a City Engineer of RMC was in control and management of Drainage Department of Rajkot, whereas, the other applicants – Jitendrasinh Zala and Ashvin Kanjaria were serving on the post of Dy. Engineer and Asst. Electrical Engineer, RMC respectively. The deceased person was dissatisfied with his transfer posting and was irregular in attending the office. After resuming the duty at the drainage branch, he remained absent for 72 days.

He committed suicide on 4.7.2012. Before the incident of suicide, he wrote a letter addressed to Police Commissioner, Rajkot, alleging therein that the applicants intentionally insulted and intimidated him in front of other employees with an intent to humiliate and harass him as he belongs to a scheduled caste

After the suicide, the father of the deceased lodged an FIR against the applicants to get them behind bars. In view of the registration of the offence, the applicants have approached this Court, seeking quashing of the FIR mainly on the ground that the applicants hold higher posts in the establishment of Rajkot Municipal Corporation and any act done in discharge of their legal duty without there being any intention on their part to abet the commission of suicide by class IV employee, no ingredients of Section 306 of Indian Penal Code are satisfied. Section 306 deals with abetment of suicide.

The advocate for the applicants contended that the plain reading of the FIR and the suicide notes cannot satisfy the ingredients required to convict a person on the basis of section 306.

The advocate for the respondent held that the allegations levelled in the FIR and facts disclosed in the suicide notes, constitute a cognizable offence and based on this, the FIR was registered and still investigation is not completed due to interim order passed by this Court. Thus, it was urged that at this stage, the criminal proceedings cannot be quashed when the allegations made in the FIR and suicide notes disclosed the commission of offence

Judgement

The Court after hearing the contentions of both the parties held that there is no allegation that the deceased was continuous harassed and insulted deliberately without justifiable cause or reason. A simple act of issuing notice or memo for the irregular attendance of the deceased, for which he was otherwise duty bound to serve the department, would definitely not amount to abetment of things as defined under Section 107 of Indian Penal Code.

Thus, considering the aforesaid aspects as discussed hereinabove, the applicants had no intention to drive the deceased to commit suicide and they could not anticipate the same. To bring home the applicants for the charge under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code, the intention and mens rea are main ingredients of the offence of abetment and they are lacking in the present case.

For these reasons, the Court was confident that a case of abetment of suicide fails to sustain and hence quashed the charges against the applicants

JUDGEMENT REVIEWED BY AMIT ARAVIND

click here to view judgement

“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.”

 

1 2