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Kunwar Pal vs State on 7 January, 2020

* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI

% Judgment delivered on: 07th January, 2020

+ CRL.A. 25/2012
KUNWAR PAL ….. Appellant
versus
STATE ….. Respondent
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Appellant : Ms. Apurva Upmanyu, Adv.

For the Respondents: Mr. Hirein Sharma, Addl. PP for the State

CORAM:-
HON’BLE MR. JUSTICE SANJEEV SACHDEVA

JUDGMENT

SANJEEV SACHDEVA, J

1. Appellant impugns judgment on conviction dated 13.12.2011
and order on sentence dated 15.12.2011 whereby appellant has been
convicted for the offences punishable under Sections 498A/306 Indian
Penal Code (IPC for short) and sentenced to undergo rigorous
imprisonment for a period of 2 years for the offence under Section
498A IPC with fine of Rs. 1000/- and in default of payment of fine to
further undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one month and
sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of 3 years
for the offence punishable under Section 306 IPC and to pay a fine of
Rs. 2,000/- and in default of payment of fine to further undergo simple
imprisonment for a period of two months.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 1 of 24

2. Appellant is the husband of the deceased.

3. As per the case of the prosecution information was received at
2.40 PM on 27.02.2009 that a lady had committed suicide. When the
Investigating Officer reached spot, he found the deceased hanging
from the fan. Investigating Officer also found one suicide note written
in Hindi and signed in English dated 27.02.2009.

4. The contents of the suicide note are as under: –

“My name is Kavita and I am going to commit suicide
today because my husband has beaten me a lot today and
for getting rid of him, I am committing suicide. For this
my husband, Shyam Lal and one Janki are responsible
because my husband used to beat me because of them
and my husband has some relations with Janki to which I
had objection.”

5. In the inquest proceedings, on 28.02.2009, Shri Rajender Singh,
father of the deceased in his statement recorded before SDM, alleged
that he married his daughter to accused Kunwar Pal on 24.02.2007
and at the time of marriage accused raised no demand for dowry and
he had given the articles from their own will in the marriage.

6. He further alleged that accused started harassing his daughter
for dowry just after the marriage and also demanded motorcycle.
Despite of their efforts, he did not leave his habit of harassing his

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 2 of 24
daughter and he used to send his daughter to village because he had
illicit relations with neighbouring lady.

7. He further alleged that on 15.02.2009, he brought his daughter
to Delhi and on that day the elder brother of accused Kunwar Pal,
assured that thereafter accused Kunwar Pal would not say anything to
his daughter. He further alleged that a day prior at 3 o’clock he got
information that his daughter had committed suicide. He was
informed by Yash Pal. He further stated that she committed suicide
due to bad behaviour and bad character of the accused. He further
alleged that one day prior also his wife received a call from his
daughter that accused was demanding Rs. 30,000/- to which they told
that they would arrange the same by Sunday.

8. He further alleged that his daughter committed suicide due to
illicit relations of accused and further alleged that accused had also
stolen the jewellery of his daughter. His wife Shyamwati also agreed
with his statement before SDM.

9. With regard to the allegations of illicit relations of the accused
with one Janki, it was enquired into by the IO from the neighbors but
none of them supported the allegations.

10. Chargesheet was filed under Section 498-A/304-B IPC and
charges were also framed under Section 498-A/304-B IPC.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 3 of 24

11. The hand writing expert in his opinion with regard to the
alleged suicide note, opined that though some similarities were
observed in formation of some letters but all features/vowel signs
occurring in the questioned writings could not be accounted for
similarly in the standard writings and no admitted signatures were
given for comparison and accordingly no opinion could be expressed
on the hand writing and signatures.

12. It was stated in the report that further attempt could be made if
further admitted writings and signatures were provided for
comparison. Trial court has noticed that no steps were taken by the
Investigating Agency to provide admitted signatures for forensic
examination. Trial court has further found that the handwriting expert
report could not prove that the suicide note was in the handwriting of
the deceased.

13. During Trial, none of the witnesses of the prosecution
supported the case of the prosecution. Even the parents and relatives
of the deceased and the neighbours did not support the case of the
prosecution. The parents and relatives of the deceased denied having
made a statement about any demand or harassment for dowry. The
father of the deceased even stated that the deceased was short
tempered and threatened to commit suicide. The parents also did not
confirm the suicide note and stated that being illiterate they could not
confirm or deny the handwriting.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 4 of 24

14. The Trial Court on appreciation of evidence brought forth by
the trial court held that the prosecution had been unable to prove
demand of dowry and harassment on account of dowry by the
accused. The Trial Court further held that the prosecution had been
able to prove that it was a case of suicide.

15. The Trial Court further held that the fact that the suicide note
was recovered from the body of the deceased was proved. The Trial
Court ruled out the possibility of planting of the suicide note as no
relative of the deceased was present at the spot.

16. With regard to the Suicide note, the trial court held that once
the recovery of the suicide note from the body of the deceased was
trustworthy, mere non corroboration of the handwriting did not lead to
the conclusion that the suicide note was not written by the deceased
because the expert opinion did not lead to the conclusion that the note
was not written by the deceased.

17. The Trial Court further noticed that as per the post mortem
report, there were two ante mortem injuries. In the description of the
first injury it was noted that the left cheek was found swollen and
congested and 3 contusions placed obliquely to the cheek parallel to
each other appeared to be impressions caused by fingers of the palm.
The second injury was ligature injury on the neck. The opinion of the
doctor about cause of death was asphyxia due to hanging.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 5 of 24

18. Based on the post mortem report, the Trial Court held that the
deceased was subjected to beating on the face prior to commission of
suicide.

19. The Trial Court held that none of the prosecution witnesses had
supported the prosecution version of illicit relations between accused
and Janki. The Trial Court held that even when direct testimony was
not supporting the prosecution case, prosecution could rely upon
circumstantial evidence, if found credible, and could define the
offence committed.

20. Trial Court held that the circumstance of commission of suicide
by the deceased within 7 years of marriage in her matrimonial home
by hanging and the recovery of the suicide note from the body of the
deceased and the contents of the suicide notes raised a finger on the
alleged objectionable relationship between accused and Janki and
towards frequent beating of the deceased found due corroboration by
postmortem report. The Trial Court held that said circumstantial
evidence was sufficient to infer cruelty committed by the accused over
the deceased.

21. Trial Court held that the persistent beating by the accused on
the instigation of Janki and Shyam Lal, as per the suicide note, was
also duly corroborated by the medical evidence which showed marks
of beating on the face by slapping. Trial Court held that persistent

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 6 of 24
beating of the deceased by accused alongwith the circumstance of
objectionable relationship clearly showed cruelty committed by the
accused so as to attract clause A of explanation to Section 498A IPC.

22. Trial Court thus held the Appellant guilty of commission of
offence under section 498A IPC. However, since prosecution had
failed to prove harassment on account of dowry and allegation of
demand of dowry soon before death, Appellant was not found guilty
of offence under section 304B IPC.

23. The Trial Court thereafter relying on the Judgment of the
Supreme Court in K. Prema S. Rao Anr. Vs. Yadla Srniwas Rao
Ors. 2003 Crl. L.J. 69 held that if accused was convicted under
section 498A IPC for cruelty then on the same evidence he could be
convicted for abetment of suicide under section 306 IPC with aid of
section 221 Cr. P.C. and further held that presumption under section
113 A Evidence Act could also be raised against him despite the fact
that no specific charge under section 306 IPC was framed against the
accused.

24. The Trial Court held that as suicide had been committed within
a period of 7 years of her marriage and there was sufficient evidence
against the accused of beating duly corroborated by medical evidence
on account of his objectionable relationship resulting in driving the
deceased to commit suicide and nothing was found in favour of the

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 7 of 24
accused for not raising such presumption against him, held him guilty
of having committed the offence under section 306 IPC.

25. Perusal of the record shows that the Trial court has erred in not
appreciating that none of the witnesses had supported the case of the
prosecution. Even the family members of the deceased had not
supported the case of the prosecution that there was ever any demand
of dowry or that any dowry was ever paid or that the deceased had
been harassed for dowry. There was no witness to support the
prosecution theory of illicit relationship.

26. The only evidence against the appellant is the alleged suicide
note.

27. The Trial Court has held that the suicide note was recovered
from the body of the deceased. There was no possibility of planting of
the suicide note as no relative of the deceased was present at the spot.
The mere fact that the handwriting of the deceased was not
corroborated did not lead to the inference that the suicide note was not
genuine or untrustworthy.

28. There is no infirmity said view taken by the Trial Court. The
evidence on record does support recovery of the note from the
deceased. It is not the case of the defense that the suicide note was

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 8 of 24
planted. Admittedly, none of the relatives of the deceased were
present when the note was recovered.

29. In the suicide note the deceased has written “My name is Kavita
and I am going to commit suicide today because my husband has
beaten me a lot today and for getting rid of him, I am committing
suicide. For this my husband, Shyam Lal and one Janki are
responsible because my husband used to beat me because of them and
my husband has some relations with Janki to which I had objection.”

30. The allegations in the suicide note are (i) my husband has
beaten me a lot today, (ii) my husband used to beat me because of
them and (iii) my husband has some relations with Janki.

31. The Medical evidence that has been produced by the
prosecution shows that apart from the ligature mark caused by the
hanging, there was one more injury mark on the deceased i.e. left
cheek was found swollen and congested and 3 contusions placed
obliquely to the cheek parallel to each other which appeared to be
impressions caused by fingers of the palm. The injury mark was
suggestive of the deceased having been slapped.

32. Apart from the mark of slap found on the cheek, no other injury
mark old or fresh has been reported by the forensic expert. Since only
one injury mark and that also of a slap has been found, it does not

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 9 of 24
support the allegation in the suicide note of the husband of the
deceased having beaten her a lot that day. If the deceased had been
beaten a lot by her husband, there would have been several injury
marks. But there was only one mark of a slap.

33. Section 498A of the IPC reads as under:

498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman
subjecting her to cruelty.–Whoever, being the husband
or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such
woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment
for a term which may extend to three years and shall also
be liable to fine.

Explanation.–For the purpose of this section, “cruelty”
means–

(a) any wilful conduct which is of such a nature as is
likely to drive the woman to commit suicide or to
cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health
(whether mental or physical) of the woman; or

(b) harassment of the woman where such harassment
is with a view to coercing her or any person
related to her to meet any unlawful demand for
any property or valuable security or is on account
of failure by her or any person related to her to
meet such demand.

34. A person who subjects a woman to cruelty is liable for
punishment under section 498A IPC. Cruelty has been defined as any
wilful conduct which is likely to drive the woman to commit suicide
or to cause grave injury or danger to life, limb or health (whether

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 10 of 24
mental or physical) of the woman or harassment of the woman with a
view to coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful
demand for any property or valuable security or on account of failure
by her or any person related to her to meet such demand.

35. In the present case, prosecution has not been able to prove that
there was any harassment of the deceased on account of any demand
for property or any valuable security. None of the witnesses have
deposed with regard to any demand. Prosecution has not been able to
prove that there was ever any demand. The only evidence that the
prosecution has produced is the suicide note and the suicide note
alleges that the deceased was beaten a lot that day and that the
appellant used to beat her because of Janki and that he had some
relations with Janki to which the deceased had objection.

36. As noticed above, the allegation in the suicide note that the
deceased had been beaten a lot that day has not been substantiated by
the medical evidence. All that has been established is that the
deceased had been slapped. Whether it was the Appellant who had
slapped her has not been established. Further the allegation that the
Appellant used to beat the deceased has not been established. The
witnesses for the prosecution including neighbours, friends and
parents of the deceased have not supported this allegation.

37. The allegation that the deceased had any relationship with Janki
has not been established. Prosecution has not produced any material to

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 11 of 24
show as to how the deceased had formed the opinion that the
Appellant was having any relationship with Janki.

38. On the other hand the father of the deceased has stated that the
deceased was short tempered and used to threaten to commit suicide.

39. In the facts of the present case, the prosecution has failed in
establishing that the ingredients of Section 498A are satisfied. The
Trial Court has also erred in holding the Appellant guilty of the
offence under section 498A IPC.

40. The Trial Court has further held that since the Appellant has
committed the offence under section 498A, he can also be convicted
for the offence under section 306 IPC.

41. 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.

42. The Supreme Court in K.V. Prakash Babu Vs. State of
Karnataka (2017) 11 SCC 176 has held that mere fact that the
husband had developed some intimacy with another woman, during
the subsistence of marriage and failed to discharge his marital
obligations, as such would not amount to ‘cruelty’, but it must be of

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 12 of 24
such a nature as is likely to drive the spouse to commit suicide. 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. 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 IPC.

43. Reference may be had to the judgment of the Supreme Court in
Ramesh Kumar vs. State of Chhattisgarh: (2001) 9 SCC 618, wherein,
the Supreme Court laid down as to what conduct would amount to
incitement or instigation so as to bring a case within the ambit of
Section 306 IPC:-

“20. Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke,
incite or encourage to do “an act”. To satisfy the
requirement of instigation though it is not necessary that
actual words must be used to that effect or what
constitutes instigation must necessarily and specifically
be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a reasonable
certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of
being spelt out. The present one is not a case where the
accused had by his acts or omission or by a continued
course of conduct created such circumstances that the
deceased was left with no other option except to commit
suicide in which case an instigation may have been
inferred. A word uttered in the fit of anger or emotion

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 13 of 24
without intending the consequences to actually follow
cannot be said to be instigation.

21. In State of W.B. v. Orilal Jaiswal [(1994) 1 SCC
73 : 1994 SCC (Cri) 107] this Court has cautioned 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 her life by committing suicide. If it transpires to
the court that a victim committing suicide was
hypersensitive 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.”

(underlining supplied)

44. Reference may also be had to the judgment of the Supreme
Court in Pawan Kumar vs. State of H.P.: (2017) 7 SCC 780, wherein,
the Supreme Court elaborated upon the expression abetment as
under:-

“34. The word “abetment” has not been explained in
Section 306 IPC. In this context, the definition of
abetment as provided under Section 107 IPC is pertinent.
Section 306 IPC seeks to punish those who abet the
commission of suicide of other. Whether the person has
abetted the commission of suicide of another or not is to
be gathered from facts and circumstances of each case

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 14 of 24
and to be found out by continuous conduct of the
accused, involving his mental element. Such a
requirement can be perceived from the reading of Section
107 IPC. Section 107 IPC reads as under:

“107. Abetment of a thing.*********

“Abetment”, thus, means certain amount of active
suggestion or support to do the act.

35. Analysing the concept of “abetment”, as found in
Section 107 IPC, a two-Judge Bench in Chitresh Kumar
Chopra v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi) [Chitresh Kumar
Chopra v. State (Govt. of NCT of Delhi), (2009) 16 SCC
605 : (2010) 3 SCC (Cri) 367] has held: (SCC p. 610,
paras 13 15)
“13. As per the section, a person can be said to have
abetted in doing a thing, if he, firstly, instigates
any person to do that thing; or secondly, engages
with one or more other person or persons in any
conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if an act or
illegal omission takes place in pursuance of that
conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing;
or thirdly, intentionally aids, by any act or illegal
omission, the doing of that thing. Explanation to
Section 107 states that any wilful
misrepresentation or wilful concealment of
material fact which he is bound to disclose, may
also come within the contours of “abetment”. It is
manifest that under all the three situations, direct
involvement of the person or persons concerned in
the commission of offence of suicide is essential to
bring home the offence under Section 306 IPC.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 15 of 24

***

15. As per clause Firstly in the said section, a person
can be said to have abetted in doing of a thing,
who “instigates” any person to do that thing. The
word “instigate” is not defined in IPC. The
meaning of the said word was considered by this
Court in Ramesh Kumar v. State of
Chhattisgarh [Ramesh Kumar v. State of
Chhattisgarh, (2001) 9 SCC 618 : 2002 SCC (Cri)
1088] .”

In the said authority, the learned Judges have referred to
the pronouncement in Ramesh Kumar v. State of
Chhattisgarh [Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh,
(2001) 9 SCC 618 : 2002 SCC (Cri) 1088] .

36. The word “instigate” literally means to goad, urge
forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do an act. A
person is said to instigate another person when he
actively suggests or stimulates him to an act by any
means or language, direct or indirect, whether it takes
the form of express solicitation or of hints, insinuation or
encouragement. Instigation may be in (express) words or
may be by (implied) conduct.

37. The word “urge forward” means to advise or try
hard to persuade somebody to do something, to make a
person to move more quickly in the particular direction,
specially by pushing or forcing such person. Therefore, a
person instigating another has to “goad” or “urge
forward” the latter with the intention to provoke, incite
or encourage the doing of an act by the latter. In order to
prove abetment, it must be shown that the accused kept
on urging or annoying the deceased by words, taunts

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 16 of 24
until the deceased reacted. A casual remark or something
said in routine or usual conversation should not be
construed or misunderstood as “abetment”.

38. Analysing further, in Randhir Singh v. State of
Punjab [Randhir Singh v. State of Punjab, (2004) 13
SCC 129 : 2005 SCC (Cri) 56] , the Court has observed
thus: (SCC p. 134, para 12)
“12. Abetment involves a mental process of instigating
a person or intentionally aiding that person in
doing of a thing. In cases of conspiracy also it
would involve that mental process of entering
into conspiracy for the doing of that thing. More
active role which can be described as instigating
or aiding the doing of a thing is required before a
person can be said to be abetting the commission
of offence under Section 306 IPC.”

(emphasis supplied)

39. In Praveen Pradhan v. State of Uttaranchal
[Praveen Pradhan v. State of Uttaranchal, (2012) 9 SCC
734 : (2013) 1 SCC (Cri) 146] , it has been ruled: (SCC
p. 741, para 18)
“18. In fact, from the above discussion it is apparent
that instigation has to be gathered from the
circumstances of a particular case. No straitjacket
formula can be laid down to find out as to whether
in a particular case there has been instigation
which forced the person to commit suicide. In a
particular case, there may not be direct evidence
in regard to instigation which may have direct
nexus to suicide. Therefore, in such a case, an
inference has to be drawn from the circumstances

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 17 of 24
and it is to be determined whether circumstances
had been such which in fact had created the
situation that a person felt totally frustrated and
committed suicide. …”

(emphasis supplied)

40. In Amalendu Pal v. State of W.B. [Amalendu
Pal v. State of W.B., (2010) 1 SCC 707 : (2010) 1 SCC
(Cri) 896] , the Court, after referring to the authorities
in Randhir Singh [Randhir Singh v. State of Punjab,
(2004) 13 SCC 129 : 2005 SCC (Cri) 56] , Kishori
Lal v. State of M.P. [Kishori Lal v. State of M.P., (2007)
10 SCC 797 : (2007) 3 SCC (Cri) 701] and Kishangiri
Mangalgiri Goswami v. State of Gujarat [Kishangiri
Mangalgiri Goswami v. State of Gujarat, (2009) 4 SCC
52 : (2009) 2 SCC (Cri) 62] , has held: (Amalendu Pal
case [Amalendu Pal v. State of W.B., (2010) 1 SCC 707 :
(2010) 1 SCC (Cri) 896] , SCC p. 712, para 12)
“12. Thus, this Court has consistently taken the view
that before holding an accused guilty of an offence
under Section 306 IPC, the court must
scrupulously examine the facts and circumstances
of the case and also assess the evidence adduced
before it in order to find out whether the cruelty
and harassment meted out to the victim had left the
victim with no other alternative but to put an end
to her life. It is also to be borne in mind that in
cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must be
proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the
commission of suicide. Merely on the allegation of
harassment without there being any positive action
proximate to the time of occurrence on the part of
the accused which led or compelled the person to

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 18 of 24
commit suicide, conviction in terms of Section 306
IPC is not sustainable.”

41. A two-Judge Bench in Netai Dutta v. State of
W.B. [Netai Dutta v. State of W.B., (2005) 2 SCC 659 :
2005 SCC (Cri) 543] , while dwelling on the concept of
abetment under Section 107 IPC especially in the context
of suicide note, observed: (SCC p. 661, paras 6-7)
“6. In the suicide note, except referring to the name of
the appellant at two places, there is no reference of
any act or incidence whereby the appellant herein
is alleged to have committed any wilful act or
omission or intentionally aided or instigated the
deceased Pranab Kumar Nag in committing the
act of suicide. There is no case that the appellant
has played any part or any role in any conspiracy,
which ultimately instigated or resulted in the
commission of suicide by deceased Pranab Kumar
Nag.

7. Apart from the suicide note, there is no allegation
made by the complainant that the appellant herein
in any way was harassing his brother, Pranab
Kumar Nag. The case registered against the
appellant is without any factual foundation. The
contents of the alleged suicide note do not in any
way make out the offence against the appellant.
The prosecution initiated against the appellant
would only result in sheer harassment to the
appellant without any fruitful result. In our
opinion, the learned Single Judge seriously erred
in holding that the first information report against
the appellant disclosed the elements of a
cognizable offence. There was absolutely no

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 19 of 24
ground to proceed against the appellant herein.
We find that this is a fit case where the
extraordinary power under Section 482 of the
Code of Criminal Procedure is to be invoked. We
quash the criminal proceedings initiated against
the appellant and accordingly allow the appeal.”

42. At this juncture, we think it appropriate to
reproduce two paragraphs from Chitresh Kumar
Chopra [Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State (Govt. of NCT
of Delhi), (2009) 16 SCC 605 : (2010) 3 SCC (Cri) 367] .
They are: (SCC p. 611, paras 16 19)
“16. Speaking for the three-Judge Bench in Ramesh
Kumar case [Ramesh Kumar v. State of
Chhattisgarh, (2001) 9 SCC 618 : 2002 SCC (Cri)
1088] , R.C. Lahoti, J. (as his Lordship then was)
said that instigation is to goad, urge forward,
provoke, incite or encourage to do “an act”. To
satisfy the requirement of “instigation”, though it
is not necessary that actual words must be used to
that effect or what constitutes “instigation” must
necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the
consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite
the consequence must be capable of being spelt
out. Where the accused had, by his acts or
omission or by a continued course of conduct,
created such circumstances that the deceased was
left with no other option except to commit suicide,
in which case, an “instigation” may have to be
inferred. A word uttered in a fit of anger or
emotion without intending the consequences to
actually follow, cannot be said to be instigation.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 20 of 24
***
19. As observed in Ramesh Kumar [Ramesh

Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2001) 9 SCC 618
: 2002 SCC (Cri) 1088] , where the accused by his
acts or by a continued course of conduct creates
such circumstances that the deceased was left with
no other option except to commit suicide, an
“instigation” may be inferred. In other words, in
order to prove that the accused abetted
commission of suicide by a person, it has to be
established that:

(i) the accused kept on irritating or annoying
the deceased by words, deeds or wilful
omission or conduct which may even be a
wilful silence until the deceased reacted or
pushed or forced the deceased by his deeds,
words or wilful omission or conduct to make
the deceased move forward more quickly in
a forward direction; and

(ii) that the accused had the intention to
provoke, urge or encourage the deceased to
commit suicide while acting in the manner
noted above. Undoubtedly, presence of mens
rea is the necessary concomitant of
instigation.”

(emphasis in original)
This Court again observed: (SCC pp. 611-12, para 20)

20. … The question as to what is the cause of a suicide
has no easy answers because suicidal ideation and
behaviours in human beings are complex and
multifaceted. Different individuals in the same situation

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 21 of 24
react and behave differently because of the personal
meaning they add to each event, thus accounting for
individual vulnerability to suicide. Each individual’s
suicidability pattern depends on his inner subjective
experience of mental pain, fear and loss of self-respect.
Each of these factors are crucial and exacerbating
contributor to an individual’s vulnerability to end his
own life, which may either be an attempt for self-
protection or an escapism from intolerable self.”

(emphasis in original)”

(underlining supplied)

45. As noticed hereinabove, none of the witnesses have supported
the case of the prosecution. There is no evidence produced by the
prosecution to establish that there was any goading, urging or
encouragement of the deceased to as to constitute abetment to commit
suicide. There is further no material to show as to what were the
surrounding circumstances except for the suicide note, which also
does not provide any help in determining the active role played by the
Appellant, if any. There are no facts on record so as to establish that
the Appellant had created such circumstances, which had created such
a situation that the deceased felt totally frustrated and committed
suicide or that the cruelty and harassment meted out to the victim had
left the victim with no other alternative but to put an end to her life.

There is no proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to the
commission of suicide.

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 22 of 24

46. Further the Trial Court has relied upon the judgment of the
Supreme Court in Prema S Rao versus Yadla Srinivasa Rao (2003) 1
SCC 217 to hold that because Appellant has been convicted of the
offence under Section 498A IPC, he can also be convicted under
section 306 IPC even though not charged for the said offence.

47. The Supreme Court in Gurjit Singh Versus State of Punjab
2019 SCC OnLine SC 1516 has held that merely because an accused
is found guilty of an offence punishable under Section 498-A of the
IPC and the death has occurred within a period of seven years of the
marriage, the accused cannot be automatically held guilty for the
offence punishable under Section 306 of the IPC by employing the
presumption under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act. Unless the
prosecution establishes that some act or illegal omission by the
accused has driven the deceased to commit the suicide, the conviction
under Section 306 would not be tenable.

48. With regard to the judgment of the Supreme Court in K. Prema
S. Rao (supra), the Supreme Court held that in the said case there was
evidence on record proving that immediately prior to committing
suicide the deceased was driven out of the house. As such, it was held
that the said cruelty would amount to abetment to commit suicide.

49. In the present case, as noticed above there is no evidence on
record that the Appellant treated the deceased with cruelty

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 23 of 24
immediately prior to committing suicide. Further as noticed
hereinabove, the allegation in the suicide note that the Appellant had
beaten the deceased a lot that day was also not supported by any
evidence medical or otherwise.

50. In view of the above, the Trial Court has clearly erred in
holding the Appellant guilty of having committed the offence under
section 498A and 306 IPC. The impugned judgment on conviction
dated 13.12.2011 and order on sentence dated 15.12.2011 are set
aside.

51. Since the Prosecution has failed to prove the case beyond
reasonable doubt, the appeal is allowed and the appellant is acquitted
of all charges. The bail bonds shall stand discharged.

52. Order Dasti under signatures of the Court Master.

SANJEEV SACHDEVA, J
JANUARY 07, 2020
‘rs’

CRL. A. 25/2012 Page 24 of 24

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