Saturday, 23 March 2019

Whether higher officer can be held guilty for abetment of suicide if he taking extra work from employee after office hours?

 In the context of aforesaid legal positions, this court is of

the view that alleged act of mis-behaviour and taking extra work
after the office hours from the deceased cannot be equated into
abetting the deceased to commit suicide. If any higher officer
compels his sub-ordinate to do extra work which is unbearable,
then he has other options and it cannot be said that he had no
other option except to commit suicide. Under these
circumstances, the appellant cannot be held responsible for
abetting the deceased to commit suicide.
High Court of Madhya Pradesh: Bench at Indore
Single Bench: Hon'ble Shri Justice S.K. Awasthi
Cr.A. No.4509/2018

Satendra Jha vs. State of Madhya Pradesh & Ors.

(Passed on 06/03/2019)

Appellant has preferred this appeal under Section 14-
A(1) of the SC/ST (PA) Act, 1989, read with Section 397 of
Cr.P.C assailing the order dated 10/05/2018 passed by Special
Judge (SC/ST Act) Dhar in Special case No.44/2018, whereby the
charges have been framed against the appellant for commission of
offence under Section 306 read with Section 34 of IPC and
Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe
(Prevention of Attrocities) Act, 1989 (for brevity 'the Act').
02. Brief facts leading to filing of the present appeal are
that the present appellant was posted as Branch Manager of ICICI
Bank, Badnawar, District Dhar (M.P) at the time of the incident
and the deceased Bhopal Singh was working as sub-ordinate to
him. On 10/10/2018, Bhopal Singh poured petrol on his body and
set himself to fire, due to which he sustained burn injuries. He
was sent to Community Health Centre, Badnawar for treatment
where his dying declaration was recorded in which he has

disclosed that he was harassed by the present appellant, who
forced him to work after office hours because of that he poured
petrol on his body and lit fire. Looking to the serious condition
he was referred to Choitram Hospital, Indore for further
treatment, where he died on 11/10/2017.
03. On receiving the information regarding the death of
Bhopal Singh, police registered marg intimation under Section
174 of Cr.P.C and his dead body was sent for postmortem. On the
basis of marg enquiry police registered case for offence under
Section 306 of IPC. Bhopal Singh was belonging to Scheduled
Caste community, therefore, police also registered offence under
Section 3(2)(v) of 'the Act' against the appellant. After
completion of investigation, charge-sheet has been filed before
the competent Court.
04. Trial Court vide the impugned order framed charges
against the appellant for offence punishable under Section 306/34
of IPC read with Section 3(2)(v) of 'the Act', which is the subject
matter of challenge in the instant appeal.
05. Learned counsel for the appellant has submitted that
the trial Court has committed error in framing charges against the
appellant, there is no evidence on record to show that the present
appellant had assigned excessive work to the deceased. Several
employees were working under the appellant and none of them
made any complaint against the appellant regarding delegation of
excessive work. Deceased Bhopal Singh has worked only for
seven months under the appellant and during this period he has
never complained against the appellant that he misbehaved or
compelled him to work beyond the office hours. Even if the
dying declaration of the deceased is taken on its face value, no

offence is made out against the appellant that he has abetted the
deceased for committing suicide. There was no personal
animosity between the appellant and the deceased and the dying
declaration discloses that the harassment was regarding to the
bank related work only.
06. Learned counsel for the appellant has further
submitted it is settled principle of law that for abetment of suicide
there should be some proximate link between the appellant and
the factum of suicide. In the present case, there is absolutely no
link between the appellant and the factum of suicide committed
by the deceased. The alleged act of abusing and taking extra
work from the deceased cannot be equated into abetting the
deceased to commit suicide. Even if the appellant has compelled
the deceased to do extra work which was unbearable, then he had
several other options for getting relieved from the same and it
cannot be said that he had no other option except to commit
suicide. Therefore, the appellant has no mens rea to abet the
deceased for commission of suicide. The deceased in a fit of
depression committed suicide, therefore, the appellant cannot be
charged for commission of offence punishable under Section 306
of IPC read with Section 3(2)(5) of 'the Act'. Under these
circumstances, the charges framed against the appellant is
completely illegal and improper, hence the impugned order be set
aside and the appellant be discharged from the aforesaid charges.
07. On the other hand learned Public Prosecutor for the
respondent/State opposes the prayer contending that from the
evidence produced by the prosecution, it is prima facie
established that the deceased has committed suicide on account of
mis-behaviour and harassment of the appellant, therefore, the trial

Court has not committed any error in framing of charges against
the appellant, hence the appeal is liable to be dismissed.
08. Having considered the contentions of the learned
counsel for the parties and on perusal of record, it reveals that the
trial court has framed the charge against the appellant for offence
punishable under Section 306/34 of IPC, however, except the
appellant, there is no other accused person in the case, hence there
was no need for the trial Court to frame the charge against the
appellant with the aid of Section 34 of IPC.
09. In the present case, prosecution of the appellant is
based on the dying declaration of the deceased recorded by the
Executive Magistrate, which is as under:-
{Vernaculars omitted}
10. Prosecution has also recorded the statement of Anita,
the wife of the deceased, Kuldeep the son and Gappulal the father
of the deceased, who have deposed that deceased has consistently
made complaints to them regarding the mis-behaviour of the
appellant and compelling him to do extra work after the office
hours. The appellant has not sanctioned leave to the deceased and
on account of pressure of work and derogatory behaviour of the
appellant, Bhopal Singh committed suicide.

11. Parameters of the abetment have been stated under
Section 107 of IPC which defines abetment as follows:
"107. Abetment of a thing.-- A person abets the
doing of a thing, who- First.- Instigates any person
to do that thing; or Secondly.- Engages with one or
more other person or persons in any conspiracy for
the doing of that thing, if an act or illegal omission
takes place in pursuance of that conspiracy, and in
order to the doing of that thing; or Thirdly.-
Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal omission,
the doing of that thing. Explanation 1.-A person
who, by willful misrepresentation, or by willful
concealment of a material fact which he is bound
to disclose, voluntarily causes or procures, or
attempts to cause or procure, a thing to be done, is
said to instigate the doing of that thing.
Explanation 2.- Whoever, either prior to or at the
time of the commission of an act, does anything in
order to facilitate the commission of that act, and
thereby facilitates the commission thereof, is said
to aid the doing of that act"
12. In the case of State Of West Bengal vs Orilal Jaiswal
And Another, (1994) 1 SCC 73 the Hon'ble Apex Court has held
as under:-
“ This Court has cautioned that the Court
should be extremely careful in assessing the
facts and circumstances of each case and the
evidence adduced in the trial for the purpose of
finding whether the cruelty meted out to the
victim had in fact induced her to end the life
by committing suicide. If it transpires to the
court that a victim committing suicide was
hypersensitive to ordinary petulance discord
and differences in domestic life quite common
to the society to which the victim belonged
and such petulance discord and differences
were not expected to induce a similarly
circumstanced individual in a given society to
commit suicide, the conscience of the Court
should not be satisfied for basing a finding that
the accused charged of abetting the offence of
suicide should be found guilty.”

13. Reference can be made to the decision of the apex
Court in the case of Gangula Mohan Reddy vs State Of Andra
Pradesh (2010) 1 SCC 750, wherein it has been held that:
“ 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. - 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 committed suicide. - If it appears
to the Court that a victim committing suicide was
hypersensitive to ordinary petulance, discord and
difference in domestic life quite common to the
society to which the victim belonged and such
petulance, discord and difference were not
expected to induce a similarly circumstanced
individual in a given society to commit suicide,
the conscience of the Court should not be satisfied
for basing a finding that the accused charged of
abetting the offence of suicide should be found
guilty. - Herein, deceased was undoubtedly
hypersensitive to ordinary petulance, discord
circumstances of case, none of the ingredients of
offence under Section 306 made out - Hence,
appellant's conviction, held unsustainable"
14. In the case of M. Mohan vs. State represented by Dy.
Superintendent of Police reported as AIR(2011) SC 1238 the
Hon'ble Supreme Court has held as under:
“ 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.”
15. Further reference can also be made on the judgment of
the Apex Court in Ramesh Kumar vs. State of Chhattisgarh
reported in (2001) 9 SCC 618 where in the three Judges Bench,
Cr.A. No.4509/2018 7
while explaining the meaning and contention of word
“instigation” has held as under:
“ Instigation is to goad, urge forward,
provoke, incite or encourage to do "an act". To
satisfy the requirement of instigation though it is
not necessary that actual words must be used to
that effect or what constitutes instigation must
necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the
consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite
the consequence must be capable of being spelt
out. The present one is not a case where the
accused had by his acts or omission or by a
continued course of conduct created such
circumstances that the deceased was left with no
other option except to commit suicide in which
case an instigation may have been inferred. A word
uttered in the fit of anger or emotion without
intending the consequences to actually follow
cannot be said to be instigation.”
16. Hon'ble Apex Court in the case of Amalendu Pal @
Jhantu vs State Of West Bengal reported as AIR 2010 SC 512
after considering the various earlier judgment in para – 15 has
observed that:
“Thus, this Court has consistently taken the view
that before holding an accused guilty of an
offence under Section 306 IPC, the Court must
scrupulously examine the facts and circumstances
of the case and also assess the evidence adduced
before it in order to find out whether the cruelty
and harassment meted out to the victim had left
the victim with no other alternative but to put an
end to her life. It is also to be borne in mind that
in cases of alleged abetment of suicide there must
be proof of direct or indirect acts of incitement to
the commission of suicide. Merely on the
allegation of harassment without their being any
positive action proximate to the time of
occurrence on the part of the accused which led or
compelled the person to commit suicide,
conviction in terms of Section 306 IPC is not
sustainable.”
17. In the context of aforesaid legal positions, this court is of

the view that alleged act of mis-behaviour and taking extra work
after the office hours from the deceased cannot be equated into
abetting the deceased to commit suicide. If any higher officer
compels his sub-ordinate to do extra work which is unbearable,
then he has other options and it cannot be said that he had no
other option except to commit suicide. Under these
circumstances, the appellant cannot be held responsible for
abetting the deceased to commit suicide.
18. Taking this view of the matter, no prima facie
evidence is available against the appellant for framing of charges
for offence under Section 306 of IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of 'the
Act' and the trial Court has wrongly ordered for framing of
aforesaid charges against the appellant and the impugned order is
liable to be set aside.
19. Resultantly, the appeal stands succeed, the impugned
order is set aside and the appellant is hereby discharged from the
charges under Section 306 of IPC and Section 3(2)(v) of 'the Act'.
20. A copy of the judgment be sent to the Court concerned
for information and compliance.
Certified copy as per Rules.
(S. K. Awasthi)
Judge

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