Kaliyaperumal v. State of Tamil Nadu [AIR 2003 SC 3828], stated the following ingredients which should be satisfied :
1) The question before the Court must be whether the accused has committed the dowry death of a woman. (This means that the presumption can be raised only if the accused is being tried for the offence under Section 304-B, IPC).
2) The woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or his relatives.
3) Such cruelty or harassment was for, or in connection with, any demand for dowry.
4) Such cruelty or harassment was soon before her death."
In Soni Devrajbhai Babubhai v. State of Gujarat & Others (1991) 4 SCC 298, this Court dealt with the objects and philosophy behind enactment of Section 304- B IPC. In this case, it has been mentioned that Section 304-B and the cognate provisions are meant for eradication of the social evil of dowry which has been the bane of Indian society and continues unabated. For eradication of social evil, effective steps can be taken by the society itself and social sanctions of community can be more deterrent, yet legal sanctions in the form of its prohibition and punishment are some steps in that direction.
A conjoint reading of Section 113-B of the Evidence Act and Section 304-B IPC shows that there must be material to show that soon before her death the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment. The prosecution has to rule out the possibility of a natural or accidental death so as to bring it within the purview of the “death occurring otherwise than in normal circumstances”. The expression “soon before” is very relevant where Section 113-B of the Evidence Act and Section 304-B IPC are pressed into service. The prosecution is obliged to show that soon before the occurrence there was cruelty or harassment and only in that case presumption operates. Evidence in that regard has to be led in by the prosecution. “Soon before” is a relative term and it would depend upon the circumstances of each case and no straitjacket formula can be laid down as to what would constitute a period of soon before the occurrence. It would be hazardous to indicate any fixed period, and that brings in the importance of a proximity test both for the proof of an offence of dowry death as well as for raising a presumption under Section 113-B of the Evidence Act. The expression “soon before her death” used in the substantive Section 304-B IPC and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act is present with the idea of proximity test. No definite period has been indicated and the expression “soon before” is not defined. A reference to the expression “soon before” used in Section 114 Illustration (a) of the Evidence Act is relevant. It lays down that a court may presume that a man who is in the possession of goods soon after the theft, is either the thief who has received the goods knowing them to be stolen, unless he can account for his possession. The determination of the period which can come within the term “soon before” is left to be determined by the courts, depending upon facts and circumstances of each case. Suffice, however, to indicate that the expression “soon before” would normally imply that the interval should not be much between the cruelty or harassment concerned and the death in question. There must be existence of a proximate and life link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the death concerned. If the alleged incident of cruelty is remote in time and has become stale enough not to disturb the mental equilibrium of the woman concerned, it would be of no consequence.”
in Hira Lal & Others v. State (Govt. of NCT), Delhi (2003) 8 SCC 80 reiterated that Section 304- B IPC and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act were inserted with a view to combat the increasing menace of dowry deaths. Perhaps the Legislations are outcome of public opinion and a comprehensive 91st Report on "Dowry Deaths and Law Reform: Amending the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Indian Penal Code, 1860 and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872" submitted on 10.8.1983 by the Law Commission of India. In the introductory chapter of the report, it is mentioned that the last few months have witnessed an alarming increase in the number of cases in which married women die in circumstances which, to say the least, are highly suspicious. In the popular mind, these deaths have come to be associated with dowry, which is why, in popular parlance, they have come to be called "dowry- deaths". Even after more than two decades of submitting the said report and enactments of new Legislations, unfortunately cases of dowry deaths are increasing. In the report, deep concern has been shown that once a serious crime is committed, detection is a difficult matter and still more difficult is successful prosecution of the offender. Crimes that lead to dowry deaths are almost invariably committed within the safe precincts of a residential house. The criminal is a member of the family; other members of the family are either guilty associates in crime, or silent but conniving witnesses to it. In any case, the shackles of the family are so strong that truth may not come out of the chains. There would be no other eye witnesses, except for members of the family. Perhaps to meet a situation of this kind, the Legislature enacted Section 304-B IPC and Section 113-B of the Evidence Act.
Court cannot ignore one of the cardinal principles of criminal jurisprudence that a suspect in the Indian law is entitled to the protection of Article 20 of the Constitution of India as well as has a presumption of innocence in his favour. In other words, the rule of law requires a person to be innocent till proved guilty. The concept of deeming fiction is hardly applicable to the criminal jurisprudence. In contradistinction to this aspect, the legislature has applied the concept of deeming fiction to the provisions of Section 304-B. Where other ingredients of Section 304-B are satisfied, in that event, the husband or all relatives shall be deemed to have caused her death. In other words, the offence shall be deemed to have been committed by fiction of law. Once the prosecution proves its case with regard to the basic ingredients of Section 304-B, the Court will presume by deemed fiction of law that the husband or the relatives complained of, has caused her death. Such a presumption can be drawn by the Court keeping in view the evidence produced by the prosecution in support of the substantive charge under Section 304-B of the Code.
a) To attract the provisions of Section 304B IPC the main ingredient of the offence to be established is that soon before the death of the deceased she was subjected to cruelty and harassment in connection with the demand of dowry.
Supreme Court of India
Kashmir Kaur & Anr vs State Of Punjab on 12 December, 2012
a) To attract the provisions of Section 304B IPC the main ingredient of the offence to be established is that soon before the death of the deceased she was subjected to cruelty and harassment in connection with the demand of dowry.
b) The death of the deceased woman was caused by any burn or bodily injury or some other circumstance which was not normal.
c) Such death occurs within seven years from the date of her marriage.
d) That the victim was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband or any relative of her husband.
e) Such cruelty or harassment should be for or in connection with demand of dowry.
f) It should be established that such cruelty and harassment was made soon before her death.
g) The expression (soon before) is a relative term and it would depend upon circumstances of each case and no straightjacket formula can be laid down as to what would constitute a period of soon before the occurrence.
h) It would be hazardous to indicate any fixed period and that brings in the importance of a proximity test both for the proof of an offence of dowry death as well as for raising a presumption under Section 113B of the Evidence Act.
i) Therefore, the expression “soon before” would normally imply that the interval should not be much between the concerned cruelty or harassment and the death in question. There must be existence of a proximate or life link between the effect of cruelty based on dowry demand and the concerned death. In other words, it should not be remote in point of time and thereby make it a stale one.
j) However, the expression “soon before” should not be given a narrow meaning which would otherwise defeat the very purpose of the provisions of the Act and should not lead to absurd results.
k) Section 304B is an exception to the cardinal principles of criminal jurisprudence that a suspect in the Indian Law is entitled to the protection of Article 20 of the Constitution, as well as, a presumption of innocence in his favour. The concept of deeming fiction is hardly applicable to criminal jurisprudence but in contradistinction to this aspect of criminal law, the legislature applied the concept of deeming fiction to the provisions of Section 304B.
l) Such deeming fiction resulting in a presumption is, however, a rebuttable presumption and the husband and his relatives, can, by leading their defence prove that the ingredients of Section 304B were not satisfied.
m) The specific significance to be attached is to the time of the alleged cruelty and harassment to which the victim was subjected to, the time of her death and whether the alleged demand of dowry was in connection with the marriage. Once the said ingredients were satisfied it will be called dowry death and by deemed fiction of law the husband or the relatives will be deemed to have committed that offence.
Supreme Court in the decision reported as (2014) 12 SCC 595 Mangat Ram v. State of Haryana also held:
" We have already indicated that the trial court has found that no offence under Section 304-B IPC has been made out against the accused, but it convicted the accused under Section 306 IPC, even though no charge had been framed on that section against the accused. The scope and ambit of Section 306 IPC has not been properly appreciated by the courts below. Section 306 IPC reads as under:
"306.Abetment of suicide.--If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."
Abetment of suicide is confined to the case of persons who aid or abet the commission of the suicide. In the matter of an offence under Section 306 IPC, abetment must attract the definition thereof in Section 107 IPC. Abetment is constituted by instigating a person to commit an offence or engaging in a conspiracy to commit, aid or intentional aiding a person to commit it. It would be evident from a plain reading of Section 306 read with Section 107 IPC that, in order to make out the offence of abetment or suicide, necessary proof required is that the culprit is either instigating the victim to commit suicide or has engaged himself in a conspiracy with others for the commission of suicide, or has intentionally aided by an act or illegal omission in the commission of suicide.
In the instant case, of course, the wife died few months after the marriage and the presumption under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act could be raised. Section 113-A of the Evidence Act reads as follows:
"113-A.Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman.--When the question is whether the commission of suicide by a woman had been abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it is shown that she had committed suicide within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage and that her husband or such relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty, the court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband."
30. We are of the view that the mere fact that if a married woman commits suicide within a period of seven years of her marriage, the presumption under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act would not automatically apply. The legislative mandate is that where a woman commits suicide within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that her husband or any relative of her husband has subjected her to cruelty, the presumption as defined under Section 498-A IPC, may attract, having regard to all other circumstances of the case, that such suicide has been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband. The term "the Court may presume, having regard to all the other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by her husband" would indicate that the presumption is discretionary. So far as the present case is concerned, we have already indicated that the prosecution has not succeeded in showing that there was a dowry demand, nor would the reasoning adopted by the courts below would be sufficient enough to draw a presumption so as to fall under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act.
We are of the view that the circumstances of the case pointed out by the prosecution are totally insufficient to hold that the accused had abetted his wife to commit suicide and the circumstances enumerated under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act have also not been satisfied".
In Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal v. State of Gujarat [(2013) 10 SCC 48 : (2013) 4 SCC (Civ) 616 : (2013) 3 SCC (Cri) 801] , this Court has examined the scope of Section 113-A of the Evidence Act, wherein this Court has reiterated the legal position that the legislative mandate of Section 113-A of the Evidence Act is that if a woman commits suicide within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that her husband or any relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty, as per the presumption defined in Section 498-A IPC, the court may presume, having regard to all other circumstances of the case, that such suicide had been abetted by the husband or such person. The court held that, though a presumption could be drawn, the burden of proof of showing that such an offence has been committed by the accused under Section 498-A IPC is on the prosecution. The court held that the burden is on the prosecution to establish the fact that the deceased committed suicide and the accused abetted the suicide. In the instant case, there is no evidence to show whether it was an accidental death or whether the deceased had committed suicide.
In K.V Prakash Babu v. State of Karnataka while dealing with the issue whether involvement of husband in an extra-marital affair invites his conviction for offence punishable under Section 306 IPC for abetment to commit suicide by the wife, observed as under:
"Slightly recently in Ghusabhai Raisangbhai Chorasiya v. State of Gujarat, the Court perusing the material on record opined that even if the illicit relationship is proven, unless some other acceptable evidence is brought on record to establish such high degree of mental cruelty the explanation
(a) to Section 498-A of the IPC which includes cruelty to drive the woman to commit suicide, would not be attracted. The relevant passage from the said authority is reproduced below:--
"True it is, there is some evidence about the illicit relationship and even if the same is proven, we are of the considered opinion that cruelty, as envisaged under the first limb of Section 498A Indian Penal Code would not get attracted. It would be difficult to hold that the mental cruelty was of such a degree that it would drive the wife to commit suicide. Mere extramarital relationship, even if proved, would be illegal and immoral, as has been said in Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal (supra), but it would take a different character if the prosecution brings some evidence on record to show that the accused had conducted in such a manner to drive the wife to commit suicide. In the instant case, the accused may have been involved in an illicit relationship with the appellant no. 4, but in the absence of some other acceptable evidence on record that can establish such high degree of mental cruelty, the Explanation to Section498-A which includes cruelty to drive a woman to commit suicide, would not be attracted."
The concept of mental cruelty depends upon the milieu and the strata from which the persons come from and definitely has an individualistic perception regard being had to one's endurance and sensitivity. It is difficult to generalize but certainly it can be appreciated in a set of established facts.
Extra-marital relationship, per se, or as such would not come within the ambit of Section 498-A Indian Penal Code. It would be an illegal or immoral act, but other ingredients are to be brought home so that it would constitute a criminal offence. There is no denial of the fact that the cruelty need not be physical but a mental torture or abnormal behaviour that amounts to cruelty or harassment in a given case. It will depend upon the facts of the said case. To explicate, solely because the husband is involved in an extra-marital relationship and there is some suspicion in the mind of wife, that cannot be regarded as mental cruelty which would attract mental cruelty for satisfying the ingredients of Section 306 Indian Penal Code.
We are absolutely conscious about the presumption engrafted under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act. The said provision enables the Court to draw presumption in a particular fact situation when necessary ingredients in order to attract the provision are established. In this regard, we may reproduce a passage from Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal (supra):--
Criminal law amendment and the rule of procedure was necessitated so as to meet the social challenge of saving the married woman from being ill-treated or forcing to commit suicide by the husband or his relatives, demanding dowry. Legislative mandate of the section is that when a woman commits suicide within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that her husband or any relative of her husband had subjected her to cruelty as per the terms defined in Section 498-A Indian Penal Code, the court may presume having regard to all other circumstances of the case that such suicide has been abetted by the husband or such person. Though a presumption could be drawn, the burden of proof of showing that such an offence has been committed by the accused under Section 498-A Indian Penal Codeis on the prosecution." We have reproduced the aforesaid passage only to highlight that the Court can take aid of the principles of the statutory presumption.
In the instant case, as the evidence would limpidly show, the wife developed a sense of suspicion that her husband was going to the house of Ashwathamma in Village Chelur where he got involved with Deepa, the daughter of Ashwathamma. It has come on record through various witnesses that the people talked in the locality with regard to the involvement of the appellant with Deepa. It needs to be noted that Deepa, being not able to digest the humiliation, committed suicide. The mother and the brother of Deepa paved the same path. In such a situation, it is extremely difficult to hold that the prosecution has established the charge under Section 498A and the fact that the said cruelty induced the wife to commit suicide. It is manifest that the wife was guided by the rumour that aggravated her suspicion which has no boundary. The seed of suspicion planted in mind brought the eventual tragedy. But such an event will not constitute the offence or establish the guilt of the accused-appellant under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
Having said that we intend to make it clear that if the husband gets involved in an extra-marital affair that may not in all circumstances invite conviction under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code but definitely that can be a ground for divorce or other reliefs in a matrimonial dispute under other enactments. And we so clarify.''
however recently in Supreme Court of India
Siddaling vs State Of Karnataka Through Kalagi ... on 9 August, 2018
through a very non reasoned judgment and without referring above judgments of the supreme court The bench of Supreme Court upheld the conviction of a man whose illicit relationship with another woman allegedly ‘abetted’ his wife’s suicide. Kavita had committed suicide by jumping into well within four months of her marriage with Siddaling. The reason for the suicide, according to the prosecution, was stated to be harassment due to alleged dowry demand and also cruelty meted out to her as Siddaling was having an illicit relationship.
The prosecution had also produced before the court an agreement executed by Siddaling before the panchayat in which the accused admitted to be living with another woman and that was seen by his wife.
The trial court convicted Siddaling and his father under Sections 498-A and 304-B r/w 34 IPC and Sections 306 r/w 34 IPC and Sections 3, 4 and 6 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The high court partly allowed the appeal sustaining conviction under Sections 498-A and 306 of the husband.
Although Girish Ananthamurthy, the counsel for the accused, relying on apex court judgments on this aspect, contended that abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or in any manner aiding that person in doing of the thing, the apex court bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice Vineet Saran was not inclined to interfere with the concurrent convictions.
Upholding the high court judgment, the bench said: “In the case in hand, the witnesses - PW-1, PW-6, PW10 and PW-22 have clearly in their statement stated that the appellant continued his relation with another woman. The appellant’s illicit relation with another woman would have definitely created the psychological imbalance to the deceased which led her to take the extreme step of committing suicide. It cannot be said that the appellant’s act of having illicit relationship with another woman would not have affected to negate the ingredients of Sections 306 I.P.C.”
It is submitted that this judgment is contradictory to earlier position which is settled by numerous judgments and for now cannot be relief upon. Also , judgment was very brief (of 4 pages) and not very reasoned.
Supreme Court of India
Satvir Singh And Ors vs State Of Punjab And Anr on 27 September, 2001
In this case , a young mother of two kids, who is a double graduate, ran into the rail in front of a running train to end her life as well as her miseries once and for all. She was driven to that action on account of the cruel treatments suffered by her at her nuptial home. But the destiny also was cruel to her as the locomotive which she desired to be her destroyer, instead of snuffing her life out in a trice, converted her into a veritable vegetable. She lost her left hand from shoulder joint and got her spinal cord ruptured. She turned into a paraplegic. She herself described her present plight as a living corpse. Thus the miseries she longed to end transformed into a monstrous dimension clutching her as long as she is alive.
It was held "It is not enough that harassment or cruelty was caused to the woman with a demand for dowry at some time, if Section 304B is to be invoked. But it should have happened soon before her death. The said phrase, no doubt, is an elastic expression and can refer to a period either immediately before her death or within a few days or even a few weeks before it. But the proximity to her death is the pivot indicated by that expression. The legislative object in providing such a radius of time by employing the words soon before her death is to emphasise the idea that her death should, in all probabilities, have been the aftermath of such cruelty or harassment. In other words, there should be a perceptible nexus between her death and the dowry related harassment or cruelty inflicted on her. If the interval elapsed between the infliction of such harassment or cruelty and her death is wide the court would be in a position to gauge that in all probabilities the death would not have been the immediate cause of her death. It is hence for the court to decide, on the facts and circumstances of each case, whether the said interval in that particular case was sufficient to snuff its cord from the concept soon before her death."
"There was dearth of evidence to show that was subjected to cruelty or harassment connected with the demand for dowry, soon before the attempt to commit suicide.When the position is such it is an unnecessary exercise on our part to consider whether Section 116 IPC can ever be linked with the offence under Section 304B IPC.
We, therefore, conclude that appellants cannot be convicted under Section 116 IPC either by linking it with Section 306 or with Section 304B. Hence the conviction and sentence passed on them under Section 116 IPC is set aside." However, appellants were held liable under 498A .
State Of Punjab vs Iqbal Singh And Ors on 10 May, 1991
The relationship between husband and wife were strained over dowry to a level that wife sought police protection apprehending danger to her life.One day she set herself and her 3 children ablaze at the residence of her husband. Before attempting suicide she left a note behind which stated that , her husband demanded additional dowry from her and her mother in law and sister in law made false accusations against her and also conspired to kill her one night by sprinkling on her kerosene but their plan misfired. It was held that husband was responsible for creating the situations where his wife committed suicide and was responsible under 306.
State v. Anil Kumar (Cr LJ 3131 P& H )
In another case a husband merely stood by and while his wife set her ablaze due to a consistent demand for dowry. High Court held him liable for it.
State v. Kirpal Singh (CR Lj 2724 P&H)
However where wife never complained of demand of dowry or harassment but for the mere fact that she committed suicide in few months after marriage was held insufficient to hold a the accused liable for 306.
In Swamy Prahaladdas v. State of M.P. & Anr. , 1995 Supp. (3) SCC 438, the appellant was charged for an offence under Section 306 I.P.C. on the ground that the appellant during the quarrel is said to have remarked the deceased 'to go and die' . This Court was of the view that mere words uttered by the accused to the deceased 'to go and die' were not even prima facie enough to instigate the deceased to commit suicide.
In Mahendra Singh v. State of M.P., 1995 Supp.(3) SCC 731, the appellant was charged for an offence under Section 306 I.P.C basically based upon the dying declaration of the deceased, which reads as under:
"My mother-in-law and husband and sister-in-law (husband's elder brother's wife) harassed me. They beat me and abused me. My husband Mahendra wants to marry a second time. He has illicit connections with my sister-in-law. Because of these reasons and being harassed I want to die by burning."
Supreme Court, considering the definition of 'abetment' under Section 107 I.P.C., found that the charge and conviction of the appellant for an offence under Section 306 is not sustainable merely on the allegation of harassment to the deceased. This Court further held that neither of the ingredients of abetment are attracted on the statement of the deceased.
Bombay High Court
Jeevan Babu Desai vs State Of Maharashtra on 31 January, 1992
In this case the appellant had made life impossible for Ratan (deceased) . His drunkenness and increasing recourse to the bottle had made him violent, suspicious, intemperate and indiscriminate. That drove Ratan to desperation and the extent thereof was such that she took her own life. He was convicted under section 306 .
Delhi High Court
Shri Mohan Chand Kholia vs State on 6 September, 2002
Briefly stated, the facts are that Bhagwati Kholia was brought to the hospital with burn injuries on 20.8.2000. She gave her statement to the Police wherein she stated that she was married to the petitioner 12 years back. Her husband/ petitioner used to suspect her character and used to quarrel with her every day. On the day of incident at about 6 a.m. when she came down stairs with her children, the petitioner started abusing her. Her brother Ashok who also resides in the same area was called and after some time her brother Ashok went out of the house and the petitioner also went out. The petitioner came back after some time and abused her saying " You bloody whore why dont you die". Thereafter she locked herself and bolted the room and set herself on fire after pouring kerosene oil and died consequently. He was accordingly held liable for 306 and 498A .
Andhra High Court
Bommidi Rajamallu vs State Of Andhra Pradesh on 29 December, 2000
the accused used to quarrel with the deceased-Shiva Kumari and used to beat her in a drunken state. The deceased has been informing of this conduct of the accused to her parents and elder brother from time to time. The elders advised the accused to mend himself. While so, on 29-1-1993 at about 7.30 p. m., the accused went to his house in a drunken state, abused and beat the deceased. She questioned him about his drunkenness and insisted him not to drink. Unable to bear his torture, she poured kerosene on her and set herself ablaze.
In her dying declaration deceased stated " "Since my marriage my husband is addicted to drink, used to come home in drunken state, torture me, abuse me and beat me. He used to spend more money on drinks. He previously without hearing my words used to abuse me and beat me. Several times, unable to bear the torture and thought of dying. Today, i.e., on 29-1-1993 my husband Rajamallu came in drunken state abused me and attempted to beat me. When I asked him that why you are coming in drunken state and why you are doing like this? For that he abused me saying that it is my will, are you earning the money, also abused me that he do not bother if I live or die, and asked me to die." Accused was held not liable for 306 but for 498A .
Madhya Pradesh High Court
Girjashankar And Ors. vs State Of Madhya Pradesh on 19 April, 1988
Daughter in law was subject to maltreatment and starvation with the superadded fact of looking for another girl for the boy , this was held to be enough to constitute offence of abetment for purpose of section 306.
In State of West Bengal v. Orilal AIR 1994 SC 1418 : (1994 Cri LJ 2104) it has been held by the Supreme Court that the Court should be extremely careful in assessing the facts and circumstances of each case and the evidence adduced in the trial for the purpose of finding whether the cruelty meted out to the victim had in fact induced her to end the life by committing suicide. If it transpires to the Court that a victim committing suicide was hyper sensitive to ordinary petulance, discord and differences in domestic life quite common to the society to which the victim belonged and such petulance, discord and differences were not expected to induce a similarly circumstanced individual in a given society to commit suicide, the conscience of the Court should not be satisfied for basing a finding that the accused charged of abetting the offence of suicide should be found guilty.
Madhya Pradesh High Court
Balram And Anr. vs State Of M.P. on 28 April, 1999
Where deceased wife was not given proper food or clothing and due to poverty of her husband and due to that she committed suicide . It was held that the case does not fall under section 306.
Supreme Court of India
Dammu Sreenu vs State Of A.P on 28 May, 2009
appellant had developed an illicit intimacy with Accused No. 2, who was the wife of the deceased Bitra Nagarjuna Rao. On the night of 31.12.1995, accused No. 2, the wife of the deceased went out of her house and returned to her matrimonial home only on the next day. The deceased, Bitra Nagarjuna Rao was unhappy with the aforesaid conduct and so, naturally questioned her about her behaviour because of which there was a quarrel between the two. Being disturbed and perturbed on account of the behaviour of his wife (Accused No. 2), the deceased, Bitra Nagarjuna Rao called the father of Accused No. 2 and asked him to take her away so as to give her proper counseling. Accordingly, she was taken away by her father. On the same day the present appellant (Accused No. 1) came to the house of the deceased and when he was questioned by the inmates of the house of the deceased, he stated that he had illicit relations with the wife of the deceased and that he would keep coming to the house of the deceased so long she does not object to the same.When he was told that Accused No. 2 had gone with her father, Accused No. 1 went to the house of the brother of Accused No. 2 and took her away despite the protest of PW-5, brother of Accused No. 2, in whose house his father kept her. The appellant took her away and brought her back to the house of her brother only after 4 days and to her parents' house on 06.01.1996.Having come to know about the aforesaid incident, the deceased felt humiliated and insulted. He committed suicide by hanging himself in the intervening night of 7th and 8th January, 1996. It is also to be noted, at this stage, that prior to his suicide, the deceased, Bitra Nagarjuna Rao expressed before his brother that it would be better to die as he felt very much insulted and humiliated. IN these facts Supreme court found accused persons guilty of 306.
Supreme Court held : "The facts which are disclosed from the evidence on record clearly establish that Accused No. 1 had illicit relationship with Accused No. 2 who is the wife of the deceased. It is also not in dispute that Accused No. 1 was visiting the house of the deceased to meet Accused No. 2 and that he even went to the house of deceased when he came to know that the wife of the deceased was sent with her father for counseling and advise. He loudly stated that he would continue to have relationship with Accused No. 2 and would come to her house so long she does not object to the same. He also took her away from the house of PW-5, her brother and kept her with him for 4 days. Immediately after the said incident the deceased committed the suicide. Therefore, there is definitely a proximity and nexus between the conduct and behaviour of Accused No. 1 and Accused No. 2 with that of the suicide committed by the deceased. Besides, there is clear and unambiguous findings of fact of three courts that the appellant is guilty of the offence under Section 306 of IPC"
Bombay High Court
Satish S/O Narayan Ate vs State Of Maharashtra on 19 February, 1996
The prosecution case is that one Maya, who was a resident of village Rohana in Wardha district was in love with the appellant-accused and their love affair was going on for about one-and-a-half years. That, the parents of Maya agreed for the marriage between Maya and the accused. The accused also agreed for the same and it was decided that the marriage was to be performed on 18-6-1989. However, the accused did not come and avoided to get married. It has further come in the prosecution evidence that on 24-6-1989, Maya filed a report at Exhibit 42 with the Police Station alleging therein that though her marriage was fixed with the accused and though the clothes etc. were stitched, the accused had not married her as his mother Gangabai had demanded Rs. 5000/- from her as a pre-condition for her marriage with the accused and as a result of that, the accused was searching for other girls. The prosecutrix, in that report, had stated that her life and reputation would be ruined and, therefore, prayed for proper action. It seems that the police did not do anything on this report. After about three weeks of this report, it is reported that Maya poured kerosene on her person while she was in her house and thereafter jumped into the nearby well while she was burning. As a result of that she met with a watery grave. A report came to be given by her uncle Ravindra examined as PW-1 and in that report, Ravindra had merely stated that Maya had jumped into the well in a burning condition. However, later on, it seems that on the basis of the statements of the parents of Maya, the Police Station Officer prepared a report and lodged the First Information Report. It is on that basis that the investigation started. In post-mortem report, it turned out that the unfortunate girl was having 12 weeks of pregnancy. The police thereafter recorded the statements, executed the inquest panchanama as well as the spot panchanama and put up the charge-sheet against the accused.
Court held : What was really required to be found out was as to whether the accused intended by not marrying that she should commit suicide or whether he knew that she was likely to commit suicide. It being independent act of the victim girl , the liability cannot be foisted on the accused.
a moral conviction cannot take the place of the legal evidence which is absent in this case. Accused acquitted under section 306.
Bombay High Court
Supchand S/O Nathuji Lonare vs The State Of Maharashtra on 19 September, 1994
The mere fact that husband performed second marriage and first wife committed suicide who was living separately , is not a ground by itself to hold husband liable under 306 . Husband was acquitted in this case .
Rajasthan High Court
Smt Aroma M Philemon vs State Of Rajasthan And Anr on 7 February, 2013
Briefly stated the facts of the case are that the petitioner happens to be the Principal of Saint Soldier Public School in Jaipur. In the School, eating of Gutkha and smoking by the students is strictly prohibited. However, on 29.11.2011, it was discovered that few students had eaten Gutkha and had spit on the walls of the school. This fact was reported to the petitioner on 30.11.2011. It was decided that school bags of the students should be searched. In the bag of Shubham Khoda, six pouches of Pan Masala and Gutkha were discovered. In the bag of another student, namely Mohd. Shoaib, few pouches of Gutkha and a knife were discovered. The parents of both the students were called; both the students were resticated from the school. However, subsequently, the parents met the Chairman of the Managing Committee and assured them that the children would adhere to the discipline of the school. Therefore, they were permitted to come back to the school. They rejoined the school on 9.12.2011. On 9.12.2011, both the students were asked to apologize before the assembly of students and to promise that they would not break the discipline of the school. Shubham Khoda continued to attend the school till 21.12.2011. However, in the intervening night of 21.12.2011 and 22.12.2011, he committed suicide. On 24.12.2011, a FIR was registered against the petitioner for offence under Section 306 IPC and Section 3(1)(x) of the SC/ST Act. During the course of investigation, a suicide note was discovered wherein Shubham Khoda has written that the petitioner is responsible for my death.
High court held : "Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained. The intention of the legislature and the ratio of the cases decided by the Supreme Court is clear that in order to convict a person under Section 306 IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide.
Although, the above noted case dealt with framing of the charge for offence under Section 306 IPC, but the fact remains that the passage, quoted above, clearly reveals the ingredients of Section 306 IPC.
In the case of Ramesh Kumar Vs. State of Chattisgarh [2001(9) SCC 618], the Apex Court defined instigation to mean to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite, or to encourage to do an act.
In the case of M. Mohan Vs. State [(2011) 3 SCC 626], the Apex Court held that there should be some live link, or a proximate link between the act of the accused and the act of committing of suicide. If the live link is missing, it cannot be said that the accused has instigated, or intentionally aided the commission of suicide.
HENCE qua the offence of section 306 , the case is quashed."