No One Can Be Convicted For An Offence Under Section 306 IPC Without Any 'Positive Act' – Supreme Court Quashes Proceedings Invoking Section 482 Cr.P.C.
A two-judge Bench of Justice R. Subhash Reddy and Justice Hrishikesh Roy has held that without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, the accused cannot be convicted under section 306 IPC.
An appeal was preferred before the Supreme Court against the order passed by the Allahabad High Court which had dismissed the Appellant's application filed under section 482 CrPC for quashing the Non-Bailable Warrant issued against her as well as the criminal proceedings pending for trial before the Additional District & Sessions Judge/Special Judge, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, Meerut. The High Court had held that the disputed questions of facts cannot be adjudicated at this stage under section 482 CrPC while dismissing her application.
The Appellant was charged under section 306 IPC and 3(2)(v) of the Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 for abetting the suicide of the complainant's brother. It was alleged that the deceased had visited the Appellant's house where the Appellant along with her family members abused the deceased with casteist abuses and forcefully administered poison to him, which led to his death.
Though FIR was registered under Sections 302 and 328 of the IPC along with Section 3(2)(v) of the 1989 Act based on the complaint of the sister of the deceased, final report was filed under 306 of IPC along with Section 3(2)(v) of the 989 Act.
The Appellant contended before the Court that she was harassed by the deceased by following her and wanting to marry her and there was no ground to accuse her of abetting the suicide of the deceased.
The counsel appearing for the Appellant argued that the deceased was carrying a small bottle of poison which he consumed at the Appellant's house and for that Appellant cannot be tried for the offences under section 306 IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of Schedule Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.
While the Respondent contended that the deceased was maintaining relations with the Appellant and when she refused to marry the deceased, he committed suicide by consuming poison.
After considering the contentions of both parties the Court held that except for the self-serving statements of the complainant and other witnesses stating that the deceased was in love with the Appellant, there is no other material to show that the Appellant was maintaining any relation with the deceased.
Merely because he consumed poison in front of the house of the Appellant, that itself will not indicate any relation of the Appellant with the deceased, the Court observed.
"Abetment involves mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, no one can be convicted for offence under Section 306, IPC," the Bench noted.
The Court asserted, "To proceed against any person for the offence under Section 306 IPC it requires an active actor direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide, seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide."
Regarding the accusation against the Appellant of abusing the deceased with casteist abuses, the Court noted, "Even with regard to offence alleged under Section 3(2)(v) of the Act it is to be noticed that except vague and bald statement that the appellant and other family members abused deceased by uttering casteist words but there is nothing on record to show to attract any of the ingredients for the alleged offence also."
By relying upon Rajiv Thapar & Ors. v. Madan Lal Kapur, the Court observed, "Except the statement that the deceased was in relation with the appellant, there is no material at all to show that appellant was maintaining any relation with the deceased."
It would be a travesty of justice to compel the Appellant to face a criminal trial without any credible material whatsoever, the Court opined.
The Court concluded that the High Court had committed a grave error in dismissing the application of the Appellant under section 482 CrPc.
Accordingly, the Court set aside the order passed by the Allahabad High Court and allowed the Appeal. The Court quashed the Warrant issued and the criminal proceedings pending against the Appellant.