April 29, 2019
In a recent case, Supreme Court Judges Justice R. Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee have reiterated the essential ingredients for establishing offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
Case name: M. Arjunan v. State
The Supreme Court in the case was considering appeal against Madras High Court’s order, whereby the Court convicted the appellant under Section 306 of IPC as the prosecution had established the torture committed by the appellant on deceased. In the case, the deceased had allegedly left a suicide note stating that he was unable to repay loan advanced to him by the appellant.
The Supreme Court in appeal reversed the High Court’s order by noting the fact that the deceased in the suicide note has only shown that he was subjected to pressure for payment and was facing financial difficulty and there was nothing to indicate that there was instigation by the appellant which had driven the deceased to commit suicide.
While allowing the appeal in the case, the Bench also highlighted the essential ingredients of offence under Section 306 of IPC as (i) the abetment (ii) intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide.
The Court while acquitting the accused in the case noted that the act of the accused in insulting the deceased by using abusive language will not, by itself constitute the abetment of suicide. There should be evidence capable of suggesting that the accused intended by such act to instigate the deceased to commit suicide. Unless the ingredients of instigation/abetment to commit suicide are satisfied the accused cannot be convicted under Section 306 of IPC.