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Acquittal in Abetment to Suicide case against Husband

There are many ways of doing any activity, whether be it constructive or destructive. Some persons use a different kind of tactics to attain the end result. They encourage another person to do an act in the same way as they want. Sometimes they hire such person to commit a crime as in case of contract killing.Abetment of an offence is such act.


We all have abetted our parents in order to get our favourite things in an innocent manner in our childhood. We knew, if we will abet them, our desired action will be done, without being blamed. Fortunately,we are not convicted for such pious crime. But the situation differs as soon as we attain majority.It becomes an offence.  Section 107 of indian penal code 1860 defines abetment of a thing. It basically deals with three modes of abetment and these are by way of instigation, conspiracy and intentional aiding. This section deals with general abetment. But there isa certain section which deals with specific abetment such as abetment of suicide under sections 305 and 306 of IPC. Section 305 deals with abetment of suicide of a child and insane person which punishable with death or imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 10 years. While on the other hand section 306 deals with abetment of suicide which is punishable with imprisonment which may extend to 10 years.


Abetment of Suicide

Section 306 of IPC defines abetment of suicide in the following manner;

“if any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine.”

A bare reading of this section gives a fair idea about essential ingredients of the offence. Two requirements for this section is; first suicide and second abetment of suicide. It is clear that first of all suicide have been committed, which means that death must be caused by suicide and by no other means such as murder or accident (Wazir Chand v. theState of Haryana). But suicide as such is no offenceand the reason behind it is that dead person cannot be prosecuted. However, attempt to suicide and abetment of suicide is made punishable.


Section 306 deal with abetment of suicide in a generic sense. Whosoever abets any person to commit suicide he or she will be liable for the offence. However, a particular aspect of this section has been noticed throughout that charge of abetment of suicide is usually accompanied by a charge under section 498A, IPC. In Indian society where the demand for dowry is made without fail and domestic violence has been one of  the issues, the death of a married woman gives rise to the basic notion that she had been abetted to commit suicide or cruelty and harassment by her husband or his relatives were responsible for her death either directly or indirectly. Growing atrocities against women had made theparliamentariansto think and subsequently, an amendment was made to IPC and Indian Evidence Act, by adding sections 498A and 113A respectively. Section 498A of IPC deals with cruelty against married women by husband and his relatives. Sectin113A of Indian Evidence Act deals with presumptions as to abetment of suicide, if it is found that woman has been subjected to crueltyunder section 498A by her husband or his relatives.

Acquittal of husband

The legal concept is that guilt of an accused person cannot be presumed unless and until proven guilty. But under this section guilt of the husband is presumed and thereafter prosecution started proving his guilt. However, there must be certain situations where the accusations were founded on the false ground. From varies judicial pronouncements it has been made clear that the husband can be acquitted though presumption is made.

Also Read- 498 A NOW AND THEN.

For invoking this section it is required that deceased have committed suicide as result of cruelty (498A) and husband abetted her to do so. It means that reasonable nexus between cruelty and suicide of women has to be established (Thangappandian v. state). Thus the husband committing the offence of bigamy during the lifetime of his first wife (Reema Agrawall v. State) or mere unhappy matrimonial life or woman taunted for not possessing a car, pushes wife to commit suicide will not attract any criminal liability on part of the husband under sections 306 and 498A of IPC.

Abetment or instigation or provocation must be serious enough for an ordinary Indian woman having no alternative other than to kill herself (Gurbachan Singh v. Satpal Singh). There must be a certainovert act done bythe husband for instigating his wife to commit suicide. The situations where the wife has knowledge of the illicit relation of husband or where the injury marks on the body of the wife is an absent or false promise of marriage or quarrel between husband and wife immediately prior to the incidentof wife causing suicide do not act as a catalyst for committing the suicide.


On the same line leaving a name of person or husband in the suicide note does not proof active participation of husband in abetment of suicide. Various high courts have questioned the authenticity of a suicide note.

The offence is all about the actus reus and Mens rea. These two are essential elements without which no crime will be completed. Thus under section 306, it is clear that to convict any person there has to be clear Mens rea to commit an offence. In S.S. Chheena v. Vijay Kumar Mahajan &others the court observed that abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing a thing. Thus word uttered in anger or emotion without intention will not attract the criminal liability.


Right to life is guaranteed by our constitution under article 21. Before being a constitutional right to its human right which is given by nature by virtueof being human. Thus no one is allowed to take the life of another and at the sametimegive their life. In the variousstatute, this fundamental right is protected. This is the main reason abetment the of suicide is made punishable under IPC also. Life is precious thus it is the duty of all humans to protect the life of each other. But at the same time life of accused is also important thus facts and circumstances should be thoroughly examined because it is better to acquit several criminals than to punish one innocent.

Written by Katyayani Shukla is a 3rd-year student of faculty of law, Allahabad University.

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