Man Can’t Be Held Guilty for Abetment of Wife’s Suicide unless strong evidence obtain: Supreme Court

Man Can’t Be Held Guilty for Abetment of Wife’s Suicide unless strong evidence obtain: Supreme Court

Supreme court

The Supreme Court, while acquitting a man accused of abetting his wife’s suicide 30 years ago, ruled that unless there was substantial evidence of harassment or cruelty, his wife took her life within seven years of their marriage. He said he could not be found guilty of aiding and abetting. Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act states that if a woman took her life within 7 years of getting married, then there would be a presumption that her husband and the family of her husband could’ve been the cause.

In this instance, the man wed in 1992. The prosecution stated that the man intended to open a ration shop, so soon after they were married, he and his parents began requesting money. According to the records, the woman poisoned herself on November 19, 1993. The prosecution claims that she took her life due to constant harassment following her husband’s demise. The individual was found guilty of the crime in 1998 by an additional sessions judge in Karnal, which is punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The Punjab and Haryana High Court upheld this decision. The Supreme Court held that a person must have a definite “mens rea”—a criminal intent—to commit the crime in order to be found guilty under Section 306 of the IPC, which deals with abetment of suicide.

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Legal Standards in Aiding and Abetting Suicide Cases

The accused must have committed an active, conduct or direct act that caused the victim to die by suicide in order to be found guilty of aiding and abetting, according to a panel of Justices. Merely harassing someone is insufficient in this regard. The highest court ruled that in order to avoid giving the appearance that a conviction is moral rather than legal, courts must continue to exercise extreme caution. The decisions made by the court must be strictly based on legal standards and not moral judgments.

This court has ruled that unless cruelty was demonstrated, one should not conclude that someone was involved in someone else’s suicide after they had been married for seven years. By raising a presumption under Section 113A, an accused person cannot be found guilty of an offence under Section 306 of the IPC in the absence of strong proof of harassment or cruelty. It stated that merely asking the wife’s parents for money to operate a business—without asking for anything more—would not be considered harsh or harassing. The Supreme Court further stated that until cruelty was demonstrated, one should not conclude that someone assisted someone who died by suicide within seven years after becoming married.

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Caution in Evaluating Evidence

It also stated that while evaluating evidence under section 113A to determine whether cruelty was committed, courts should proceed with utmost caution. The court would not be satisfied if it turned out that the victim of suicide was hypersensitive to everyday petulance, differences, and discord in domestic life that were fairly common to the society to which the victim belonged and that such normal disagreements and arguments were not expected to induce an individual in a given society to die by suicide.

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In this instance, it is precisely what has occurred. In less than ten minutes, this court came to the unavoidable conclusion that the appellant’s conviction for the offence covered by Section 306 of the IPC was unsupportable in court. “It was sometime in 1993 that the ordeal of the appellant began and, by 2024, it will have come to an end almost thirty years later. At the same time, we are aware of the fact that a young woman died, leaving behind a six-month-old child. We should not allow any crime to go unpunished. But at the same time, it is necessary to prove the defendant’s guilt according to the law ”, said the bench.


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