The Chhattisgarh High Court acquitted a husband of the charges of abetment of suicide (Section 306 IPC) stating that clear and cogent evidence of instigation to commit suicide were absent.

The trial Court on the basis of the postmortem report conducted concluded that the nature of the death of the second wife/victim was suicidal and convicted the husband under Section 306 of the IPC.

A Single Bench of Justice Sanjay Kumar Jaiswal observed, “Sita Bai also knew that appellant Labho Ram was already married and for this reason, she did not want to marry appellant Labho Ram, but at the insistence of her family members, she was ready to marry appellant Labho Ram. In the above circumstances, there is no evidence of harassment being caused on the part of appellant Labho Ram, which would leave Sita Bai with no other option but to commit suicide. In absence of clear and cogent evidence, it does not appear that appellant has instigated her in may manner to commit suicide.

Advocate Vivek Tripathi represented the appellant, while P.L. Mayank Khandelwal appeared for the respondent.

The prosecution contended that the husband subjected his second wife to torture and assault after his first wife returned to their matrimonial home, ultimately resulting in the second wife's suicide. In contrast, the defence asserted that the marriage was imposed on the second wife, causing her unhappiness and ultimately leading to her suicide.

The Court pointed out that the second wife was abandoned by her former husband before she got remarried to her second husband. The second wife was also aware of the second husband’s first marriage.

Knowing this fact, Sita Bai did not want to marry him,” the Court added. Therefore, the Court stated that it was clear that the second wife did not want to marry the second husband, but did so upon the insistence of her family members. Secondly, there was no evidence of harassment meted out on the part of the second husband.

The Court held that the prosecution had failed to establish a case beyond all reasonable doubt and therefore, “the appellant is entitled for acquittal from the offence punishable under Section 306 of the IPC on the basis of benefit of doubt.” Consequently, the Court set aside the judgment of conviction and order of sentence.

Accordingly, the High Court allowed the appeal under Section 374(2) of the CrPC.

Cause Title: Labho Ram v. State of Chhattisgarh (Neutral Citation: 2024:CGHC:14478)


Appellant: Advocate Vivek Tripathi

Respondent: P.L. Mayank Khandelwal

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