Demand of Dowry Alone Not Sufficient for Abetment to Suicide Charges: Allahabad HC

The Allahabad High Court has held that mere demand of dowry does not constitute the offence of abetment to suicide.

Background:

A Petition under Section 482 CrPC was filed seeking quashing of the chargesheet dated 7.5.2010 as well as the proceedings of Case No. 1687 of 2010 (State Vs. Vikashh and others) arising out of Case Crime No. 76 of 2010, under Section 306 IPC, Police Station Partarpur, District Meerut pending before Special CJM, Meerut.

An First Information Report was lodged by the Opposite Party No. 2 against the applicants under Section 306 IPC. In the said FIR, it was alleged that the marriage ceremony of the daughter of the informant Km. Anu was fixed with the Applicant No. 2 and the marriage was scheduled to be held on 16.2.2010. 

It was further stated that on the day of engagement i.e. 25.7.2009, Applicants had demanded one Santro Car, Air Conditioner, Rs. 5 lacs and 20 Tolas of gold for marriage. Also on various occasions, the applicants had demanded dowry by calling on the mobile numbers as mentioned in the FIR. Phone calls were also made on the mobile number of the daughter of the Opposite Party No. 2. 

On 1.2.2010, in the night, Vikashh, Applicant No. 2 had called the daughter of Opposite Party No. 2 and had threatened her and further demanded dowry. On the same night, at about 12 O’ clock, on account of threat, by the applicants, she immolated herself. 

Arguments

Counsel for the applicants argues that even if assuming all the allegations to be gospel truth, no offence under Section 306 IPC can be said to be made out and as such, the chargesheet is liable to be quashed. He relief upon Counsel the judgments

in the case of Gurjit Singh Vs. State of Punjab, 20190 0 Supreme (SC) 1300, State of West Bengal Vs. Indrajit Kundu & Ors, 2019 0 Supreme (SC) 1164, Heera Lal & another Vs. State of Rajasthan, 2017 0 Supreme (SC) 400, Mahavir Mahto @ Mahabir Mahto & Ors. Vs. State of Jharkhand and another, 2014 0 Supreme (Jhk) 558 as well as the Judgment of Supreme Court in the case of Arnab Manoranjan Goswami Vs. State of Maharashtra and others, 2020 SCC Online SC 964.

Whereas, Counsel for the Opposite Party No. 2 had defended the chargesheet and mainly argued that from the perusal of the statements on record, it is clear that the deceased committed suicide on account of persistent demand of dowry and on account of the such persistent demand, she had no other option but to commit suicide and thus, prays that the application is liable to be dismissed.

Decision of High Court

Justice Ajay Bhanot of Allahabad High Court held:

“for driving home the charge under Section 306 IPC, it is essential that there  should exist specific material/assertion so as to demonstrate that the abettor/accused had done any act positive so as to goad, urge forward, incite or encourage to do the act of suicide.”

The Court added:

“Even assuming the statement of the doctor, which refers to the statement of the deceased made before the said doctor, to be a dying declaration, it does not disclose any act of abetment, direct or indirect, which may be called instigation to commit the act of suicide. Once the specific ingredients of the offence are not made out, prima facie, even accepting all the statements to be true, the summoning of the applicants as well as filing of the chargesheet under Section 306 IPC suffers from an error apparent.”

In view of the above and considering the statements so recorded during investigation, the Court found that the ingredients of Section 306 IPC are not existing in the present case, as such the chargesheet dated 7.5.2010 as well as proceedings of Case No. 1687 of 2010 arising out of Case Crime No. 76 of 2010, under Section 306 IPC are quashed.

However, the Court further observed that 

“the materials on record, prima facie, disclose an offence committed by the applicants under Section 4 of Dowry Prohibition Act and read with Section 7 (1) (b) of the Dowry Prohibition Act, the Magistrate ought to have taken cognizance under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act.

Accordingly, it is directed that the applicants shall be tried for offences under Section 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The applicants shall appear before the concerned Court within one month from today for trial in accordance with law.”

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