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ABETMENT OF SUICIDE

INTRODUCTION

The term 'Abetment' refers to instigation, conspiracy or the act of assisting or encouraging someone to do something wrong or illegal.


Abetment of Suicide is a punishable offence under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. In this article, we will be bringing out Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. It expresses that any person who abets or encourages a person in the commission of suicide shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend up to10 years and shall be liable to a fine. Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code is often read with section 107 that narrates the word “Abetment”.


In the case of Pramod Shriram Telgote v. the State of Maharashtra, the court declared that “clear mens rea to commit the offence is a sine qua non for conviction under Section 306 IPC”.


ABETMENT UNDER THE INDIAN PENAL CODE

An individual abets the commission of offence when…

1. He/ She instigates any person to do a thing;

2. He/ She engages with one or more persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing or if the act or illegal act takes place in pursuance of the conspiracy; and

3. He/ She intentionally aides the doing of that thing by any act or illegal omission.


The offence of abetment by instigation relies on the motive of the person who abets and not upon the activity that is completed by the person who has abetted. It is given in section 107 of the Indian Penal Code that abetment might be by instigation, knowledge or intentional aid. Though, the words expressed in a wave of anger or mistake without any intent cannot be defined as instigation.


Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code defines Abetment of suicide as, "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 ten years, and shall also be liable to fine."


SERIOUSNESS OF THE OFFENCE:

Abetment of suicide is a serious offence and it is cognizable, non-bailable and non-compoundable.

➢ A cognizable offence is an offence where a police officer can be arrested without a warrant from a court.

➢ A non-bailable offence is an offence where the bail is granted to the accused at the discretion of the court, and not as a matter of right.

➢ A non-compoundable offence is an offence where the case cannot be withdrawn by the complainant even when the complainant and the accused have reached a compromise.


ESSENTIALS:

1. a suicide death,

2. the accused's intent to aid in such suicide,

3. involvement of the accused should be direct.


In the case of Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chattisgarh, a dispute arose between the husband and wife, the husband said to his wife, “You are free to do whatever you wish and go wherever you like”. Thus, the wife committed suicide. The Court clarified the term “instigation “ again and announced that to satisfy the requirement of instigation, though the actual words must be used for such an outcome, yet a practical assurance to provoke the consequence must be prepared of being spelt out. A word conveyed out of anger or emotion cannot be termed as “instigation”.


In the case of Manikandan v. State, this has proved to be a vital decision in the history of landmark decisions. The Madras High Court held that simply being named in a Suicide Note does not invoke Section 306 IPC. The contents of the note required proper inspection to discover whether the accused falls within the ambit of abetment as cited under section 306. The Court also declared openly that “it is not the wish and willingness nor the desire of the victim to die, it must be the wish of the accused, it is the intention on the part of the accused that the victim should die that matters much. There must be a positive act on the part of the accused.”


The Supreme Court in Randhir Singh v. the State of Punjab, expressed the Section 306 IPC and suggested as under:

▪ Firstly, Abetment entails a mental process of instigating a person or purposely aiding that person in doing a thing.

▪ Secondly, A better effective role that can be interpreted as instigating or aiding the doing of a thing is obliged before a person can be said to be abetting the commission of an offence.


IS THE ABETMENT OF SUICIDE SIMILAR TO MURDER?

▪ In the case of Sangarabonia Sreenu v. State of Andhra Pradesh, the Apex Court explained this issue in the year 1997.

▪ In spite of the intent of the accused to push a person to engage in such offence, the abetment of suicide is not similar to murder.

▪ In the case of a murder, the final ‘act’ of resulting in the death of a person is committed by the accused that is completely different in the case of abetment of suicide.


CONCLUSION

Abetment of suicide, be it either provoking the victim or instigating the victim in the suicide commission. The accused can defeat the penal provisions dealing with such offence extremely handily, as the extent of the provision is restricted to only three classifications, which is a loophole. Hence, there is a necessity to alter the provisions which deal with the offence of abetment, in such a way that the criminals are not incapable to evade the legislations, mend the cases suiting their needs, and break away from the punishments.


Additionally, the laws are needed to be comprehended not precisely in a confined manner. Nonetheless, by the facts and occurrences of each case so that justice exists. The established definition of abetment falls short. The section contains abetment using aid, instigation and conspiracy, but there are instances where the activities of the individual do not rigorously fall in these three categories but pressurize an individual to commit suicide.


AUTHOR: Monisa Mohammed Ahmed Usmani

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