Ingredients for offence of abetment of suicide

Offence of Abetment to commit suicide:

Suicide note naming the accused as abettor if sufficient:

As pointed out by the High Court, of course PW-1 to PW-5 have spoken about the borrowing of money by the deceased and also the execution of the promissory note. The sheet anchor of the prosecution’s case to prove the guilt of the accused is the suicide note (M.O.1)-written by the deceased. On perusal of suicide note (M.O.1), it is seen that in M.O.1 the deceased has written about the financial difficulties faced by him and his inability to meet the financial crunch and also his inability to repay the same. The tenor of M.O.1 only shows that the deceased was subjected to pressure for payment and was facing the financial difficulty. In M.O.1 (letter) there is nothing to indicate that there was instigation by the appellant-accused which had driven the deceased to take the extreme step of committing suicide.

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.

In the case at hand, M.O.1-letter and the oral evidence of PW-1 to PW-5, would not be sufficient to establish that the suicide by the deceased was directly linked to the instigation or abetment by the appellant- deceased. 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.

[Source: M. Arjunan vs The State, decided by SC on 4 December 2018]

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