A Singh Judge Bench Justice B. N. Karia of the Gujarat High Court has in the matter of Rahul Ranabhai Dangar v. the State of Gujarat has observed that if the accused had filed a complaint against the deceased under S. 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 then, filing of such complaint by the accused does not amount to abetment of suicide under S. 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860.
Background of the case:
The appellant had filed a bail application before the court of the Additional Sessions Judge, Porbandar under Section 439 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 requesting to enlarge him on regular bail on account of the complaint registered for the offense punishable under Sections 306, 387, 506(2) of the Indian Penal Code and under Sections 3(1)(r), 3(1)(s), 3(2)(5-a) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocity) Act, 1989 (SC/ST Act), but it was rejected. Feeling aggrieved by the order, the appellant had preferred an appeal under Section 14-A of the SC/ST Act before the High Court of Gujarat.
On December 11, 2019, the deceased had hanged himself with a fan and committed suicide for unknown reasons. Initially, an accidental case was registered and the same was declared under Section 174 of the CrPC.
It was the case of the prosecution that the deceased was requested by the appellant to be a witness in a previous atrocities offense and relief of Rs. 25,000/- was to be received from the Government. Out of this amount, Rs. 15,000/- was returned by the deceased to the appellant and the remaining amount was kept by the deceased. One blank cheque was taken by the appellant from the deceased and thereafter, it was deposited with the bank and was bounced and therefore, a complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881 was registered by the appellant against the deceased. The appellant was requested by the deceased to settle the issue but the appellant was not happy, and therefore, as and when they were meeting, a threat was given by the appellant to involve him in a false case. This fact was disclosed by the deceased to the complainant and his sister and on account of constant tension, the deceased had committed suicide.
The holding of the Court:
Regarding the constituents of S. 306 of IPC, the Court observed that,
“To attract the ingredients of abetment, the intention of the accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suicide is necessary under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. There has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offense. It also requires an active act or direct act which lead 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 committed suicide.”
After pursuing the police papers produced on record, the Court observed that prima facie there was no intention on the part of the appellant to push the deceased to commit suicide. As both the sides had taken their legal actions permissible under the law, filing of a complaint by the appellant under Section 138 of the NI Act against the deceased, issuing notice by the competent court cannot be considered to attract an offense under Section 306 of IPC, the Court held.
The Court ordered to release the appellant on regular bail on furnishing a bond of Rs. 10,000/- with one surety of like amount to the satisfaction of the Trial Court.