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Section 306 IPC: Abetment Of Suicide A Heinous Offence: Cannot Be Quashed Based On Compromise: Supreme Court

Anila Sabu ,
  01 August 2022       Share Bookmark

Court :
Hon’ble Supreme Court of India
Brief :

Citation :
SLP (Crl.) No.1132-1155 of 2022

Case Title:
Daxaben Vs. The State of Gujarat &Ors.

Date Of Order:
29th July 2022

Judges:
Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian

Parties:
Petitioner: Mr Rameshwar Prasad Goyal, AOR
Respondent: Ms Deepanwita Priyanka, AOR Ms Archana Pathak Dave, AOR Mr Vaibhav Joshi, AOR Mr Ivan, Adv. Mr Ankur Mathur, Adv. Ms Mohini Priya, AOR Mr Maninder Singh, Sr. Adv. Ms. Chitrangda Rastravara, Adv. Ms Archana Pathak Dave, Adv. Mr Manvendra Singh, Adv. Mr Dashrath Singh, Adv. Mr Abhijeet Singh, Adv. Mr Gp. Capt. Karan Singh Bhati, AOR

Subject

The Supreme Court, on 29th, held that the agreement between the accused and the victims cannot be cited as justification for overturning an FIR filed under Section 306 IPC (suicide attempt).

Important Provisions

  1. Section 306 IPC
  2. Section 482 CrPC

Brief Facts

  • Due to an extreme financial crisis brought on by the accused's theft of Rs. 2,35,73,200 from the deceased, the latter was forced to commit suicide.
  • The Gujarat High Court had dismissed the FIR under Section 306 IPC filed against the accused in light of an agreement between the accused identified in the FIR and the complainant (a cousin of the deceased) in a petition filed by the accused under Section 482 CrPC.
  • The wife of the deceased attempted to have the verdict recalled but it was denied.
  • According to the respondent, there must be an accusation of either a direct or indirect act of encouragement to the commission of the suicide offence for there to be an allegation of alleged abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC.
  • However, the issue of whether the accusations in the FIR constituted an offence under Section 306 IPC or not was not even brought up by the High Court.
  • It was a settlement between the complainant and the defendants identified in the FIR that led to the dismissal of the FIR.
  • Since the High Court did not address the issue itself, the top court decided it was unnecessary to address the issue of whether there was any direct or indirect act of incitement to the crime of aiding suicide.
  • It is sufficient to note that, in accordance with Section 306 of the IPC, even a passive act of enticement to commit suicide would be a crime.
  • It was claimed in court that the parties' disagreements had been settled peacefully.
  • Father, affidavits of Settlement of Disputes signed by the complainant and other members of the dead person's family were entered into the record in support of this statement.

Questions Raised

  • Whether the Criminal Miscellaneous Applications filed by the accused under Section 482 of the Cr.P.C. could have been a settlement between the complainant and the accused named in the FIR, and an FIR under Section 306 of the IPC for aiding in suicide, punishable by ten years in prison, have been allowed to proceed?

Cases Referred to By the Court

  • New India Assurance Co. Ltd. v. Krishna Kumar Pandey

Citation: CRIMINAL APPEAL No.1852 OF 2019

The High Court cited the above-mentioned order from this Court's three-judge bench, which was issued on December 6 2019 that held that in a revision deriving from a conviction, the High Court could not have restricted the employer's ability to discipline the accused for violating the Service Rules.

  • State of Punjab v. Davinder Pal Singh Bhullar and Ors

Citation: (2011) 14 SCC 770

The decision in this case where this Court held that the High Court was not devoid of inherent power to recall a judgement and/or order that was without jurisdiction, in violation of principles of natural justice, passed without providing a hearing opportunity to a party affected by the order, or where an order was obtained by abuse of process was cited by this Court in Krishna Kumar Pandey (supra). Such directives may be recalled by using inherent capabilities.

  • Monica Kumar (Dr.) v. the State of U.P

Citation: (2008) 8 SCC 781

This Court concluded in Monica Kumar (Dr.) v. the State of U.P.7 that inherent jurisdiction under Statute 482 of the Cr.P.C. must only be exercised when such exercise is warranted by the tests clearly outlined in the section itself.

  • Mrs. Dhanalakshmi v. R. Prasanna Kumar

Citation: AIR 1990 SC 494: 1990 Supp SCC 686

In extraordinary circumstances, the High Court may employ its inherent powers under Section 482 to halt criminal proceedings to avoid abuse of the legal system.

As this Court concluded in Mrs Dhanalakshmi v. R. Prasanna Kumar, interference would only be permitted when the complaint did not disclose any offence or was frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive.

  • State of Andhra Pradesh v. Gourieshetty Mahesh

Citation: (2010) 11 SCC 226

In extraordinary circumstances, the High Court may employ its inherent powers under Section 482 to halt criminal proceedings to avoid abuse of the legal system.

As this Court concluded in Mrs Dhanalakshmi v. R. Prasanna Kumar, interference would only be permitted when the complaint did not disclose any offence or was frivolous, vexatious, or oppressive.

  • Paramjeet Batra v. the State of Uttarakhand

Citation: (2013) 11 SCC 673

This Court ruled in Paramjeet Batra v. the State of Uttrakhand1 that the High Court must exercise caution when using Section 482 of the Code Authority. This authority must only be exercised sparingly and in ways that further the interests of justice or serve to prevent misuse of any court's procedures. A complaint's ability to reveal a criminal offence or not depends on the specifics of the facts it alleges. The High Court must determine whether the necessary elements of a crime are present or not.

  • Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre

Citation: (1988) 1 SCC 692

A three-judge panel of this court described the law on the dismissal of criminal cases under Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code in Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrojirao Angre.

  • Inder Mohan Goswami v. the State of Uttaranchal

Citation: (2007) 12 SCC 1

This Court observed that the court must make sure that criminal prosecution is not used as a tool of harassment, for pursuing personal vengeance, or with a covert intention to pressure the accused. According to our examination of the aforementioned examples, it is neither feasible nor desirable to establish a rigid rule that would control the exercise of inherent jurisdiction. Despite being broad, the inherent jurisdiction of the High Courts under Section 482 CrPC must only be used when it is warranted by the standards outlined in the legislation itself and the aforementioned cases. Given the established legal precedent, the assailed judgement cannot stand.

  • State of Punjab v. Gurdial Singh

Citation: (1980) 2 SCC 471

Criminal prosecution, if otherwise warranted, is not tainted by malefic or retaliation, according to a well-established legal principle. "If the exercise of the power for the fulfilment of a legal aim the actuation or catalysation by malice is not logical," declared Krishna Iyer, J. in State of Punjab v. Gurdial Singh.

  • Kapil Agarwal &Ors. v. Sanjay Sharma & Others

Citation: (2021) 5 SCC 524

In Kapil Agarwal & Ors. v. Sanjay Sharma & Others, this Court noted that Section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code is intended to achieve the goal of preventing criminal processes from becoming tools of harassment.

  • Gian Singh v. the State of Punjab

Citation: (2012) 10 SCC 303

In Gian Singh v. the State of Punjab16, this Court examined and outlined a few general guidelines for when the High Court dismisses criminal proceedings for a non-compoundable offence where there is a settlement between the parties.

  • Narinder Singh v. the State of Punjab

Citation: (2014) 9 SCC 466

In Narinder Singh v. the State of Punjab, this Court determined that it is the responsibility of the State to punish the criminal in cases of egregious and serious offences, which are typical to be viewed as crimes against society. Therefore, even if a settlement is reached, the perpetrator's and victim's points of view will not be accepted because it is in the best interests of society for the criminal to be punished to deter others from committing a similar crime.

Analysis By the Court

  • Justices Indira Banerjee and V. Ramasubramanian's bench stated that "abetment of suicide" is a heinous and serious offence that must be treated as a crime against society as a whole rather than just the victim.
  • The bench rejected a reconciliation between an accused and the victim's family. The court stated that heinous or serious crimes, which are not private and have a serious impact on society, cannot be invalidated based on a compromise between the offender and the complainant and/or the victims.
  • Referring to earlier decisions of the court, the bench stated that the high court must be cautious and give proper consideration to the nature and seriousness of the offence before using its authority under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to dismiss an FIR, criminal complaint, or criminal proceedings.

Conclusion

The victim was defrauded of more than 2.35 crore, which caused him to commit suicide, and an FIR was filed against the offenders. Daxaben, the victim's wife, petitioned the Supreme Court in opposition to the High Court's ruling and its denial of her request to recall the HC judgement.

Orders that only invalidate complaints and/or FIRs pertaining to significant and serious offences after reaching an understanding with the complainant would create a hazardous precedent where complaints would be filed for fictitious reasons to force the accused to pay money.

In addition, the wealthy perpetrators would escape punishment even in cases of grave and heinous offences like murder, rape, bride burning, etc. by bribing informants/complainants and reaching agreements with them.

Hence, it is of utmost importance to recognise that abetment of suicide, being such a heinous offence, should not be allowed to be quashed just based on compromise.

Learn the practical aspects of CrPC HERE, CPC HERE, IPC HERE, Evidence Act HERE, Family Laws HERE, DV Act HERE

Click here to download the original copy of the judgement

 
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