Court: Uttaranchal High Court
Bench: JUSTICE J.B. Garg
Smt Sadhna Pandey And Another vs State Of Uttarakhand And Another on 3 May 2017
Quashing of proceedings – abetment of suicide – Deceased committed suicide being disturbed by family feud and pending cases relating to matrimonial dispute – FIR was lodged by father of deceased – No material available on record to show that applicants abetted commission of suicide by deceased.
By means of aforementioned applications under Section 482 Cr.P.C., the applicants seek to quash / set aside the impugned charge sheet dated 10.06.2013, summoning order dated 17.07.2013, 24.09.2015 and 31.10.2015, as also the entire proceedings of criminal case no. 5052 of 2013, State vs Janardan Prasad Tiwari and four others, under Sections 306, 504, 506 I.P.C., (case crime no. 26/2013), pending in the court of II Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate, Dehradun.
2) Since aforementioned applications under Section 482 Cr.P.C. have arisen out of the same FIR and charge sheet, therefore, they are being decided together by this common judgment for the sake of brevity and convenience.
3) An FIR was lodged by the complainant / respondent no. 2 against present applicants, for the offences punishable under Sections 306, 506 IPC, enumerating the facts contained therein that marriage of his son Prashant Kumar Pandey was solemnized with Sadhana d/o Janardan Prasad Tiwari r/o village Jamui Kalan, Post & P.S. Nichlool, District Maharaj Ganj (U.P.) on 18.06.2006. Janardan Tiwari (father of Sadhana) and Anand (brother of Sadhana) used to beat his son, whenever there was any matrimonial discord between the couple. They gave beatings to his son at the time of their stay at Badarpur in Delhi and daughter-in-law of the complainant instigated them to do so. Thereafter, they took Sadhana along with them. Few months later, complainant took her daughter-in- law back after compromise. In the month of May 2011, Janardan Tiwari came to the house of complainant at Gorakhpur accompanied with his wife, son and other people. He gave beatings to his son there also and took her daughter Sadhana along with them. Janardhan Tiwari lodged a criminal case under Section 498A, maar peet etc. Son of the complainant was bailed out after remaining 16 days in jail in that criminal case. Thereafter, a case of maintenance and domestic violence was also got registered and they also threatened the complainant with dire consequences. Complainant kept his son away from his house at Dehradun in order to save him from the clutches of family members of Sadhana. But in Dehradun also, the threatening to kill and abetment to commit suicide by them to complainant’s son, continued unabated. In the court at Gorakhpur also, they assaulted son of the complainant. They used to hurl abuses over telephone, some parts of which were recorded in the form of C.D. and can be produced whenever required, which bears testimony of their conduct. Sri Tiwari threatened to shot dead the complainant and his family members at Gorakhpur. Eventually, owing to constant threats by them to implicate son of complainant in false cases, threatening and abetment to commit suicide, son of the complainant ends his life on 17.02.2013.
4) The cause of death of Prashant Kumar Pandey, according to the Medical Officer, who conducted the postmortem examination on his dead body, was asphyxia as a result of ante mortem hanging. There was no ante mortem injury except the ligature mark on the neck which usually happens in the case of suicide.
5) It appears that the victim committed suicide, being disturbed by the family feud and pending cases relating to matrimonial dispute. FIR was lodged by the father of victim. After investigation of the case, charge sheet was submitted against present accused-applicants.
6) It is the submission of learned counsel for the applicants that even if it be presumed for the sake of arguments that all the allegations levelled in the FIR are true, the ingredients of offence punishable under Section 306 IPC are not made out against the present applicants.
7) Reliance is placed upon a decision of Hon’ble Supreme Court in M. Mohan vs State with Velmurugan & another vs State, 2011 AIR SCW 1601, wherein it has been observed as below:
“45. Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained.
46. The intention of the Legislature and the ratio of the cases decided by this court are clear that in order to convict a person under Section 306 IPC there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and this act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he/she committed suicide.”
8) Learned counsel for the applicants relied upon the judgments rendered by Hon’ble Supreme Court in Mahendra Singh & another vs State of M.P. 1995 Supp (3) SCC 731, Netai Dutta vs State of W.B. (2005) 2 SCC 659 and S.S. Chhena vs Vijay Kumar Mahajan & another (2011) 2 SCC (Cri) 465 in support of his contention. The Hon’ble Apex Court held in Mahendra Singh’s case (supra), Netai Dutta’s case (supra) and Sohan Raj Sharma vs State of Haryana 2008 AIR SCW 3202 that mere cruel or insulting behaviour cannot be taken to be an act of abetting suicide and the ingredients of Section 306 IPC, in such cases, are not made out. The Hon’ble Supreme Court in Kishori Lal vs State of M.P. (2007) 3 SCC (Cri) 701 held that mere torture by the accused and subsequent commission of suicide by the victim would not amount to an abetment or instigation to commit suicide.
9) Learned counsel for the applicants also placed reliance upon a decision rendered by this Court in Mahesh Yadav vs State of Uttarakhand and another, 2014 (1) U.D. 94, in support of his contention, wherein the criminal proceedings initiated against the applicant of that case in respect of offence punishable under Section 306 IPC were quashed.
10) There is no material available on record to show that the present applicants abetted commission of suicide by the victim. They cannot be termed as abettor, no matter the victim committed suicide. Therefore, the applicants cannot be prima facie held guilty for the offence punishable under Section 306 IPC.
11) Hon’ble Apex Court in Amit Kapoor vs Ramesh Chander and another, (2013) 1 SCC (Cri) 986, has laid down certain principles in respect of exercise of jurisdiction under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. One of the principle is that the Court should apply the test as to whether the uncontroverted allegations as made from the record of the case and the documents submitted therewith prima facie establish the offence or not. If the allegations are so patently absurd and inherently improbable that no prudent person can ever reach such a conclusion and where the basic ingredients of a criminal offence are not satisfied then the court may interfere. Where the factual foundation for an offence has been laid down, the courts should be reluctant and should not hasten to quash the proceedings even on the premise that one or two ingredients have not been stated or do not appear to be satisfied if there is substantial compliance with the requirements of the offence.
12) A Constitutional Bench of the Hon’ble Apex Court in the decision of Inder Mohan Goswami and another vs State of Uttaranchal and others, reported in (2008) 1 SCC (Cri) 259, has laid down the guidelines for exercising the powers under Section 482 Cr.P.C., wherein it was held that inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. can be exercised:
(i) to give effect to an order under the Code;
(ii) to prevent abuse of the process of the court, and
(iii) to otherwise secure the ends of justice.
13) On a bare reading of the contents of FIR, if read in the light of decisions of the Hon’ble Apex Court, a brief description of which is given in the foregoing paragraphs of this judgment, foundation of criminal offence is not laid against the present applicants.
14) Although jurisdiction under Section 482 Cr.P.C. has to be exercised sparingly, carefully and with caution, but this is one such case, in which inherent power under Section 482 Cr.P.C. should be exercised. The power is to be exercised ex debito justitiae, i.e., to do real and substantial justice for administration of which alone, the courts exists.
15) All the applications under Section 482 of Cr.P.C. are, therefore, allowed. As a consequence thereof, charge sheet dated 10.06.2013, summoning orders dated 17.07.2013, 24.09.2015 and 31.10.2015, as also the entire proceedings of criminal case no. 5052 of 2013, State vs Janardan Prasad Tiwari and four others, under Sections 306, 504, 506 I.P.C. (case crime no. 26/2013), pending in the court of Addl. Chief Judicial Magistrate II, Dehradun are hereby quashed.