Insulting by using abusive language will not, by itself, constitute abetment of suicide

M Arjunan Vs The State

Supreme Court

04/12/2018

CRIMINAL APPEAL No(s). 1550 OF 2018 (Arising out of SLP(Crl.)No.382 of 2016)

About/from the judgment:

“There should be evidence capable of suggesting that the accused intended by such act to instigate the deceased to commit suicide.”

 

The Supreme Court observed that an act of insulting a person by using abusive language will not, by itself, constitute the abetment of suicide.

 

Allowing the appeal filed by a man convicted for abetting suicide, the bench comprising of Justice R Banumathi and Justice Indira Banerjee observed that there should be evidence capable of suggesting that the accused intended by such act to instigate the deceased to commit suicide.

 

In this case, the accused Arjunan had advanced a sum of Rs.80, 000 by way of debt to Rajagopal. According to the prosecution, due to the alleged torture by the accused, Rajagopal committed suicide leaving a suicide note stating that he was unable to repay the loan and was taking the extreme step. The trial court convicted the accused and sentenced him to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years.

 

Referring to Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, the bench, on an appeal filed by the accused, said: “The essential ingredients of the offence under Section 306 I.P.C. are: (i) the abetment; (ii) the intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide. The act of the accused, however, insulting the deceased by using abusive language will not, by itself, constitute the abetment of suicide. There should be evidence capable of suggesting that the accused intended by such act to instigate the deceased to commit suicide. Unless the ingredients of instigation/abetment to commit suicide are satisfied, accused cannot be convicted under Section 306 I.P.C.”

 

The bench then observed that would not be sufficient to establish that the suicide by the deceased was directly linked to the instigation or abetment by the accused.

 

Setting aside the conviction, the court further observed: “Having advanced the money to the deceased, the appellant-accused might have uttered some abusive words; but that by itself is not sufficient to constitute the offence under Section 306 I.P.C. From the evidence brought on record and in the facts and circumstances of the case, in our view the ingredients of Section 306 I.P.C. are not established and the conviction of the appellant-accused under Section 306 I.P.C. cannot be sustained.”

Read the Judgment

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