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Narayan Malhari Thorat vs Vinayak Deorao Bhagat on 28 November, 2018

Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
1
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

Reportable
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION

CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1487 OF 2018
(Arising out of Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.7933 of 2018)

NARAYAN MALHARI THORAT …Appellant

VERSUS

VINAYAK DEORAO BHAGAT AND ANR. …Respondents

JUDGMENT

Uday Umesh Lalit, J.

1. Delay condoned. Leave granted.

2. This appeal is directed against the judgment and order dated

28.03.2016 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Bombay,

Nagpur Bench at Nagpur allowing Criminal Application No.380 of

2015 preferred by the first respondent and thereby quashing the

proceedings instituted against him vide FIR No.35/2015.

3. The aforesaid FIR No.35/2015 was lodged with Police Station,

Washim on 14.02.2015 pursuant to information received from the
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
2
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

appellant. It was alleged that the daughter and son-in-law of the

appellant were teachers in a village in a Zila Parishad School where

the first respondent was also a teacher; the first respondent used to call

on the mobile of the daughter of the appellant and used to harass her;

that despite the efforts of the son-in-law in trying to make the first

respondent see reason and stop calling said daughter, the first

respondent continued calling her repeatedly; that on 09.02.2015 there

was a verbal altercation between the son-in-law and the first

respondent and that on 12.02.2015 said son-in-law committed suicide

leaving a suicide note. True translation of said suicide note is to the

following effect:

“Sir Police Station Officer, I humbly
request that my family life has been ruined by
Vinayak Bhagat therefore he should not be
pardoned this is humble request he should be
hanged till death this is my last wish”

4. After the crime was registered, the first respondent had

preferred an application for anticipatory bail which was rejected by

the Principal District Sessions Judge, Washim on 21.02.2015. The

matter was carried further by filing Criminal Application

[ABA]No.96 of 2015 in the High Court. The prayer was rejected by
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
3
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

the High Court vide order dated 07.04.2015. It was observed by the

High Court:

“… … …After hearing the learned
counsel for the applicant and the learned APP
for the State and on the backdrop of their
submissions, I have gone through the material
placed on record as well as presented for my
perusal by the learned APP. Though, it was an
attempt of the learned counsel for the applicant
that the alleged material against the applicant of
committing mischief is only a piece of paper i.e.
so-called suicide note. The submission was,
merely on the basis of this material, one cannot
reach to a conclusion of either intention or
abatement for attracting Section 306 of IPC.

On a perusal of the report, it clearly reveals that
it was not only a casual or occasional attempt of
the applicant or a friendly association of the
applicant with his colleague. The report itself
states that the applicant was constantly
establishing contact on mobile phone with the
wife of the victim. The report states that the
attempt was made to give an understanding to
the applicant asking him to keep himself away
from such activity. But in spite of such an
attempt, the applicant neither paid any heed nor
stopped his activities. The statements recorded
by the investigating agency of the father and
mother of the victim Sanjay clearly indicate that
though, initially the relations between the
couple and the applicant were homely and
informal, the applicant started calling the wife
of Sanjay constantly. Just 3-4 days earlier to the
death of Sanjay, the applicant, who had been to
the grocery shop of one Anand Kale, was given
an understanding by Sanjay and in spite of
grievance raised by Sanjay, the applicant was
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
4
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

giving phone calls to the wife of Sanjay. Sanjay
was thus carrying mental pressure and
depression. These facts are recorded in the
statement of the mother of Sanjay. It will also
be interesting to note what reveals from the
statement of the wife of Sanjay. The wife of
Sanjay in clear and unambiguous words stated
that the applicant was continuously calling her
in spite of the understanding given by her
husband as well as by herself.”

5. The view taken by the High Court as aforesaid was challenged

by filing Special Leave Petition (Crl.) No.3497 of 2015 but this Court

rejected the challenge on 29.04.2015 finding no merit in the Special

Leave Petition.

6. The first respondent, thereafter, filed Criminal Application

No.380 of 2015 in the High Court under Section 482 Cr.P.C. seeking

quashing of the aforesaid FIR No.35/2015 registered pursuant to the

reporting by the appellant, for the offence punishable under Section

306 IPC. By way of interim relief, stay of further proceedings in

connection with the Crime was also sought. It is a matter of record,

that the investigation in the Crime has not been concluded.

7. The challenge raised by the first respondent was accepted by

the High Court. After referring to the facts that the first respondent

used to call on the mobile of the daughter-in-law and that there were
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
5
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

heated arguments between the son of the appellant and the first

respondent, the High Court observed as under:

“The aforesaid indicates that there is no
material whatsoever even of a prima facie
nature to establish that the applicant had either
an intention to aid or instigate or abet Sanjay
to commit suicide. There is no reference to
any active or direct act on the part of the
applicant which led said Sanjay to commit
suicide. Similarly, there is neither any
instigation nor any intentional act done which
compelled the son of non-applicant no.2 to
commit suicide. Even the chit found in the
pocket of the deceased does not contain any
such material to indicate any instigation or
abetment on the part of the applicant herein
that could be treated as having led Sanjay to
commit suicide.”

The decision of the High Court and the order quashing the FIR

is presently under challenge.

8. We heard Mr. Sachin Patil, Advocate for the appellant, Mr.

Pratik R. Bombarde, Advocate for the respondent and Mr. Nishant

Ramakantrao Katneshwarkar, Advocate for the State.

9. It was submitted on behalf of the appellant that the High Court

was not justified in entering into questions whether the record prima

facie established that the respondent had requisite intention in order

to bring the matter within the confines of Section 306 IPC and in
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
6
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

quashing the FIR in exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

On the other hand, the learned counsel appearing for first respondent

relied upon decisions of this Court in Netai Dutta v. State of W.B.1;

M. Mohan v. State represented by the Deputy Superintendent of

Police2 and; State of Kerala and Others v. S. Unnikrishnan Nair

and Others.3 in support of his submission that in exercise of

jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the High Court was justified

in quashing the FIR.

10. In Netai Dutta (supra) the suicide note had alleged that Netai

Dutta had engaged the victim in several wrong doings; that the victim

was required to be at the workplace during the day and night on

certain occasions; and that though he had reported the fact that he

could leave the workplace only by 8 o’ clock in the evening when all

the restaurants were closed nothing was done by said Netai Dutta. It

was in the backdrop of these facts that this Court found the case to be

fit to exercise powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C.

11. In M. Mohan (supra) A-3 was stated to have told Kamatchi

(victim) that “if you want to go by a car, you have to bring a car from

1 (2005)2 SCC 659
2 (2011)3 SCC 626
3 (2015)9 SCC 639
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
7
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

your family”, whereupon said Kamatchi, her husband and the child

were required to take public transport. Few days thereafter the victim

committed suicide. After filing of the charge-sheet A-3 was

summoned under Sections 304B, 498A and 306 IPC. In proceedings

under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the High Court quashed the charges under

Sections 498A and 304B IPC but held that the accused had to face

trial for the offence under Section 306 IPC, which view was under

challenge before this Court. In the facts and circumstances of the

case, this Court made following observations in paragraphs 48 and

49:

“48. In the instant case, what to talk of instances
of instigation, there are even no allegations
against the appellants. There is also no proximate
link between the incident of 14-1-2005 when the
deceased was denied permission to use the Qualis
car with the factum of suicide which had taken
place on 18-1-2005. Undoubtedly, the deceased
had died because of hanging. The deceased was
undoubtedly hypersensitive to ordinary petulance,
discord and differences which happen in our day-
to-day life. In a joint family, instances of this kind
are not very uncommon. Human sensitivity of
each individual differs from person to person.

Each individual has his own idea of self-esteem
and self-respect. Different people behave
differently in the same situation. It is unfortunate
that such an episode of suicide had taken place in
the family. But the question that remains to be
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
8
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

answered is whether the appellants can be
connected with that unfortunate incident in any
manner?

49. On a careful perusal of the entire material on
record and the law, which has been declared by
this Court, we can safely arrive at the conclusion
that the appellants are not even remotely
connected with the offence under Section 306
IPC. It may be relevant to mention that criminal
proceedings against the husband of the deceased
Anandraj (A-1) and Easwari (A-3) are pending
adjudication.”

12. In State of Kerala and others (supra) the person who

committed suicide was a CBI official investigating into a crime.

According to the suicide note left behind by the victim, two officials

of CBI, who were in fact juniors to him, an advocate as well as Chief

Judicial Magistrate were statedly responsible for the suicide. Again,

considering the facts, this Court upheld the decision of the High

Court in quashing the FIR. The observations of this Court in

paragraph 12 are noteworthy. Said paragraph 12 was to the following

effect:

“12. As we find from the narration of facts and the
material brought on record in the case at hand, it is
the suicide note which forms the fulcrum of the
allegations and for proper appreciation of the same,
we have reproduced it hereinbefore. On a plain
reading of the same, it is difficult to hold that there
has been any abetment by the respondents. The note,
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
9
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

except saying that the respondents compelled him to
do everything and cheated him and put him in deep
trouble, contains nothing else. The respondents were
inferior in rank and it is surprising that such a thing
could happen. That apart, the allegation is really
vague. It also baffles reason, for the Department had
made him the head of the investigating team and the
High Court had reposed complete faith in him and
granted him the liberty to move the Court, in such a
situation, there was no warrant to feel cheated and to
be put in trouble by the officers belonging to the
lower rank. That apart, he has also put the blame on
the Chief Judicial Magistrate by stating that he had
put pressure on him. He has also made the allegation
against the advocate.”

13. We now consider the facts of the present case. There are

definite allegations that the first respondent would keep on calling the

wife of the victim on her mobile and keep harassing her which

allegations are supported by the statements of the mother and the

wife of the victim recorded during investigation. The record shows

that 3-4 days prior to the suicide there was an altercation between the

victim and the first respondent. In the light of these facts, coupled

with the fact that the suicide note made definite allegation against

first respondent, the High Court was not justified in entering into

question whether the first respondent had the requisite intention to

aid or instigate or abate the commission of suicide. At this juncture

when the investigation was yet to be completed and charge-sheet, if
Crl. Appeal No. ……….of 2018(Arising
10
out of SLP(Crl.)No.7933/2018)

any, was yet to be filed, the High Court ought not to have gone into

the aspect whether there was requisite mental element or intention on

part of the respondent.

14. We, therefore, find merit in the submissions advanced on behalf

of the appellant. The judgment and order under appeal is, therefore,

set aside and the present appeal is allowed. Since the investigation

into the matter was stalled as a result of the petition under Section

482 Cr.P.C., we direct the concerned authorities to complete the

investigation as early as possible.

15. We have not and shall not be taken up to have expressed any

opinion on the merits of the matter which shall be considered at the

appropriate stage.

16. The appeal stands allowed in aforesaid terms.

………….…………………..……J.

(Uday Umesh Lalit)

.……………..……..…………….……………J.

(Dr. Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud)
New Delhi;

November 28, 2018.

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