* IN THE HIGH COURT OF DELHI AT NEW DELHI
% Judgment delivered on: 19th March, 2020
+ CRL.REV.P. 937/2017 Crl.M.A.20636/2017
UMA DEVI ….. Petitioner
THE STATE GOVT OF NCT OF DELHI ….. Respondent
Advocates who appeared in this case:
For the Petitioner : Mr.Sahil Malik, Mr.Sparsh Chaudhary and Mr.Tushar
For the Respondents: Ms.Meenakshi Dahiya, Additional Public Prosecutor for
the State with SI Onkar Singh, P.S.Sagarpur.
HON’BLE MR JUSTICE SANJEEV SACHDEVA
SANJEEV SACHDEVA, J
1. Petitioner impugns order on charge dated 7.11.2017 whereby
charge has been framed against the petitioner under Section
498A/306/34 Indian Penal Code (IPC for short).
2. Deceased married the son of the petitioner on 08.12.2012. On
10.07.2015, deceased committed suicide. FIR was registered on the
complaint of the father of the deceased lodged on 27.09.2015.
3. The allegations in the FIR are that the married life of
complainant’s daughter with the one Bibhoo Kumar, who was the son
of the petitioner, was not good. It is alleged that petitioner used to
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mentally torture the deceased. The son of the petitioner used to work
as an engineer in Chhattisgarh. When the husband of the deceased
used to go to work, petitioner used to harass the deceased by saying
that she would get the deceased divorced from her son.
4. It is alleged that when the deceased shifted to Delhi, petitioner
used to torture the deceased over the phone. It is alleged that there
were fights between the deceased and her husband at various
occasions. Subsequently, the deceased committed suicide by hanging
herself from the fan.
5. It is submitted by learned counsel for the petitioner that
petitioner has been falsely implicated. It is submitted that father of the
deceased in his very first statement to the Executive Magistrate on
11.07.2015, after the deceased committed suicide on 10.07.2015,
stated that there was no problem in the matrimonial life of the
deceased and he had no knowledge if the deceased was mentally
6. It is further submitted that the deceased was living in a house
separate from the petitioner – mother in law, when she committed
suicide. It is submitted that the deceased committed suicide in Delhi
whereas the petitioner lives in Ranchi and for the last several months
they were living separately.
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7. It is further submitted that the brother – Pratik Rai and nephew
– Subodh Roy of the deceased in their respective statements to the
Executive Magistrate on 11.07.2015, after the deceased committed
suicide on 10.05.2017, stated that they did not blame anyone for the
8. It is contended that the suicide note relied on by the prosecution
does not have any allegations against the petitioner – mother in law.
9. In the impugned order on charge, Trial Court has relied upon
the statement of the father made on 27.09.2015 and also the suicide
note allegedly left behind by the deceased.
10. It may be noted that the father in his first statement to the
Executive Magistrate, given on the very next day of the suicide had
stated as under:
“Stated that I live on the above mentioned address
alongwith my family. Preeti Rai was my daughter and I
arranged her marriage on 06.12.2012 alongwith Sh.
Bibhoo Kumar. The said marriage was performed after
the consent and satisfaction of both the families as per
rites and customs. After the marriage she left for her
matrimonial home in Ranchi. After the marriage, the
matrimonial life was going on smoothly and she had no
complaint in her matrimonial home. Approximately 10
months prior to the incident Preeti had come to stay with
me at my house as Bibhoo used to work in Raigarh.
Bibhoo also used to frequently visit my house and even
Preeti went to Raigarh. Preeti and Bibhoo were both
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looking for jobs in Delhi and due to this around one
month back Preeti had taken a house near my house on
rent. Bibhoo also stayed in the new house for some days
and left back on 1st of July. As per my knowledge there
was nothing which showed that Preeti was disturbed or
she was having some problem. Yesterday on 10.07.15 at
about 2 PM I got to know on phone that Preeti had
committed suicide. I authenticate the suicide note written
by Preeti as it has been written in her own handwriting.
For this mishappening I don’t hold any one responsible.
Preeti might have taken this step due to depression. I
have read over my statement and acknowledged the same
to be correct.”
11. The suicide note, as per the prosecution case, left behind by the
deceased reads as under:
“To my Family –
Mummy, papa, Prateek, Prasant
I am sorry, par haa… I am relieved now. Relieved from
the pressure of accepting all the unreasonable terms and
condition of your proud ‘damad’. You guys know – if I
don’t earn – I did not get food there they are ready to hit
me – without even thinking that I am a human and I too
get hurt. But on a serious note – you should have
understood me, you should have understood marriage on
dowry foundation, a marriage on the foundation of lies
will never work out. I alone cannot just drag this
marriage not even your curse can force one to drag of
accept every condition, unreasonable condition put by
vibhu and his family. I was tired of their attempts on my
I was almost every day dieing, feeling so inferior.
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My question for you Vibhu –
Why you wanted my death. I wanted to live. I wanted to
grow. What did I do wrong. I was ready to do everything
for you. I wanted both of us growing in all aspects of life.
Inspite of all domestic violence I suffer wasn’t that bad
girl who deserves death. Its hard and getting even harder
everyday to live on this earth and complete the life span
god has gifted me with.
It’s even more hard when your partner, life partner wants
you to be dead “sooner the better”.
The soul within me is very strong it stopped one doing
anything wrong since part 2.5 years but I can realize now
this world is so very mean, so mean, so mean.
I tried so hard to make a normal lining and I was
honestly quite optimist that things will be better, no
matter what I have to go through. No matter how violent,
you turn vibhu, what breaks me, is your hatred towards
me. How, how can you just eagerly wait to so my coffin.
You failed the philosophy of “love wins over hatred”. I
give you my everything vibhu. All the love, I could. But it
seems you do not want me anymore. I know, you will be
also be happy about the fact that I died far from you.
My optimism, my hopes, my self confidence die when my
love wants me to leave the world. Sooner the better. You
and your family disrespected me on every stage still I
wanted to be with you and your family. Not because I
was afraid of moving on. Only because my love for you
never allowed me.
After all, I wanted a normal living.
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But then, roses of happiness for you. Because this suicide
in my own decision. Now I know your answer as you
always say — you deserves better than me. You do it
vibhu, yes you deserves a second marriage or to
understand – where you are wrong I can tolerate you so
much. Thank you for everything.
This suicide is not paid, pain is – I was optimistic that one
day you will love me. One day you will realize your
responsibilities, but you never did. From day 1 — till
date I was abused. Bye my love.
Nicky, Vineet, Meetali – trusted me I am not coward that
you guys might think of me, when you would know this,
but your friend is relived now. Relieved from all the pain
she had. Its not my end. I have so lovely memories from
you guys. Not to forget my college friends Priyanka,
Avinash and many more so on. Thank for all your
support for anything and everything.
Maama, Juhi, Maami and Atharv – I wanted to grow old
seeing you people. Thank for all your love. “Perhaps I
lost myself today”. Like every other gal I wanted to
having a loving husband I wanted to have a baby. A
caring and understanding family around. I have nothing I
At 4.10 pm I got a call from a MNC. A call for an
interview — This was for the same role what 1 am doing,
this was from a global mining company. I was happy and
thought it’s a good sign. God is topping me, but I realized
what would I do, if I have a good job but not you. Also
what would I do if have you but not a job.
You are my love and job is passion. In between both I
choose death. Can’t live without you and job. Vibhu even
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after leaving my job you are giving me an option of living
with your mom. Not with you. I got married with you and
not to your mom. Such conditions are unreasonable. You
failed as a human, you failed as a man, as a husband, so
many complaints to you. I know you would never listen to
My last dieing wish to you, to this world.
1st of all – I was a good soul. I died in this house, it
should not be sealed. It should be free. Landlord are
really nice guys. They should not be impacted of this. Not
even a bit.
Empower your girls, we are not toys any one can play. I
feel sad about myself as I wanted to live and see the
Dear husband — I know you will be happy about this.
Still I request to all the people you and your job and
family should not be impacted.
My family should not be impacted or questioned by any
authority. Everyone should be forgiven.”
12. The suicide note allegedly left behind by the deceased and
relied upon by the prosecution and the Trial Court does not make any
allegation against the petitioner – mother in law so as to constitute an
offence under section 498 A, 306 or 34 Indian Penal Code.
13. Sections 498A 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
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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”
(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.”
14. Sections 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.”
15. Under Section 306 IPC, whoever abets commission of suicide
is held liable for abetment of suicide.
16. Section 107 IPC defines abetment as under:-
“107. Abetment of a thing – A person abets the doing of
a thing, who-
(First) – Instigates any person to do that thing; or
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(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;
(Thirdly) – Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal
omission, the doing of that thing.
Explanation 1.- A person who, by willful
misrepresentation, or by willful concealment of a
material fact which is bound to disclose, voluntarily
causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure, a
thing to be done, is said to instigate the doing of that
Illustration A, a public officer, is authorized by a
warrant from a Court of Justice to apprehend Z. B,
knowing that fact and also that C is not Z, willfully
represents to A that C is Z, and thereby
intentionally causes A to apprehend C. Here B
abets by instigation the apprehension of C.
Explanation 2. – Whoever, either prior to or at the time
of the commission of an act, does anything in order to
facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby
facilitate the commission thereof, is said to aid the doing
of that act.”
17. 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:-
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“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
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.”
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18. In terms of Section 107 IPC, a person abets the doing of a thing,
who, instigates any person to do that thing or engages with one or
more persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing or
intentionally aids, by any act or illegal commission the doing of that
19. In the case of suicide, a person is liable for abetment if the
person has inter alia instigated the deceased for committing suicide or
has engaged in any conspiracy for committing suicide or intentionally
aided the commission of suicide
20. The Trial Court in the impugned order on charge has referred to
an extract of the suicide note but in the said extract also there is no
reference by the deceased to the petitioner – her mother in law.
21. The Trial Court has placed reliance upon the statement given by
the father to the police on 27.09.2015 and has held: “In his statement,
father of the deceased has stated that accused Bibhoo (husband) and
his mother Smt. Uma Devi are responsible for the suicide of deceased
as deceased could not tolerate the cruelty and harassment committed
22. The Trial Court has erred in not noticing that in the very first
statement given by the father of the deceased to the Executive
Magistrate, the very next day after the suicide, he had not made any
allegations against the petitioner. Even in the statement given to the
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Police on 27.09.2015 after a gap of about 78 days, the allegations
against the petitioner – mother in law are vague and general, without
any specifics. He has alleged that the mother in law used to mentally
torture his daughter and say that she would get her divorced from her
son and threaten her that she should come back to Ranchi to serve her.
23. There is no allegation even in the said statement of any demand
of dowry or harassment for dowry. Apart from a vague statement that
petitioner used to mentally torture the deceased, there are no
allegations of any kind.
24. Further, if the suicide note is taken on its face value, the suicide
note also does not make any allegation of any conduct, which would
amount to instigation by the petitioner – mother in law to the deceased
to commit suicide or even of harassment. The Suicide note does not
corroborate any of the allegations made by the father of the deceased
against the petitioner-mother in law.
25. For a charge to be framed against an accused not only suspicion
but grave suspicion of the accused having committed the offence is
necessary. From the allegations against the petitioner, grave suspicion
as is required for framing of charge is not emerging.
26. Clearly, the Trial Court has erred in framing a charge against
the petitioner for having committed an offence under section
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27. The impugned order dated 07.11.2017 to the extent that it holds
that a charge is liable to be framed against the petitioner – Uma Devi
under section 498A/306/34 IPC and the charge framed against her
cannot be sustained and is accordingly set aside.
28. Since the other accused i.e. the husband – Bibhoo Kumar has
not filed any petition challenging the said order, this order shall have
no bearing on the charge framed against him by the Trial Court by the
29. Petition is allowed in the above terms.
30. The Trial Court record be transmitted back forthwith.
31. Order Dasti under signatures of the Court Master.
SANJEEV SACHDEVA, J
March 19, 2020
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