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Can The Accused Be Charged For Abetment Of Suicide Of A Girl Whom He Addressed As A Call Girl And She Committed Suicide In Consequence Of The Same?

Factual Matrix
The facts of the instant case reveal an incredible turn of events. The deceased was a student of respondent-accused who had been engaged by the deceased's parents (the complainant in the present case) for the purpose of developing her proficiency in English. During the course of her tutelage, an intimacy developed amidst the teacher and the student and both expressed their desire to marry each other.

When the girl visited her tutor's house and expressed her desire to marry him to his parents, they began shouting and said, you are a call girl, why my son would marry you, we would give our son in marriage elsewhere.

Perturbed on hearing this, the girl went to her house and committed suicide by hanging the next day, leaving behind 2 suicide notes one of them blaming the parents for her committing suicide as she was addressed as such and the other calling the respondent-accused as a coward for failing to register any protest against his parents while they were making such remarks, hence he was also charged with the offence under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC), for abetting the girl to commit suicide.

As the case reached the learned trial Court, the respondents were found guilty under Section 306 of IPC, but the Hon'ble High Court acquitted the respondents stating that the respondents were not found guilty under the aforementioned provision.

Hence, the State's appeal before the Hon'ble Apex Court

The Apex Court placed reliance on the case of Ramesh Kumar vs. State of Chhattisgarh (2001) 9 SCC 618 wherein this hon'ble Court had interpreted the word instigation which is a quintessential ingredient of abetment as provided in Section 107 of IPC, and also determines the scope of Section 306.

The Court held that:
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

As per the facts of the instant case, the Court did not find that the utterance of respondents was of such a manner that could have instigated her to commit suicide. Hence the accused were acquitted of the aforesaid charge.

The verdict of the Hon'ble Court seems to be a reasonable one as people generally in fit of anger generally utter what they do not mean. To constitute the offence of abetment, presence of mens rea (guilty mind) is a pre-requisite to hold the accused guilty, but the same was found to be absent while the accused were making such remarks.

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