Published on: September 25, 2022 at 20:26 IST
The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench on Thursday held in the case of Lata Pramod Dangre vs. State of Maharashtra that a daughter’s repeated financial requests to her father will not constitute the crime of aiding suicide.
A First Information Report (FIR) filed against a lady for allegedly aiding her father’s suicide was rejected by a bench of Justices Manish Pitale and Govind Sanap after she repeatedly demanded money from her father for her mother, the deceased man’s second wife.
The court determined that the daughter’s alleged repeated pleas for money for her mother, from her father do not violate Indian Penal Code’s Section 306 (abetting suicide), which is a felony.
“It is significant that the petitioner in this case was purportedly placing demands on the father for a piece of the agricultural land or financial relief through her mother.”
“We believe that such frequent requests or a claimed increase in the demands cannot support a conclusion that the demands were made with the intent to push the father to commit suicide, at least initially,” stated the bench.
According to the bench, in certain cases the Court must also take into account the surrounding circumstances, which may have an effect on the alleged behaviour of the accused and the mental state of the deceased person.
The Bench opined, “It would be a stretch to conclude that the accused as the daughter, through her mother—the co-accused—intentionally acted in such a way to cause the deceased to commit suicide. At worst, the demand may have been unreasonable or one that the father was unable to fulfil.”
“The deceased had two spouses and children from both of them, thus it cannot be claimed that the petitioner gained exclusively from the deceased’s suicide, according to the surrounding circumstances,”
A petition was being heard by the bench from a woman who had been arrested for allegedly helping her father commit suicide. The woman, a daughter of the deceased’s second wife, was charged with repeatedly pressing her father for money on behalf of her mother.
On September 14, 2021, the father committed suicide. In his suicide note, he accused the petitioner and his second wife of mentally abusing him by making monetary demands.
It referred to an instance where the deceased had chosen to make a fixed deposit of Rs. 2 lakh rupees in the second wife’s favour.
However, the daughter of the petitioner persuaded him to raise it to Rs. 5 lakh. He managed to gather the money somehow, but it was later raised to Rs. 15 lakh.
The bench declared that the deceased’s distress about alleged harassment by the petitioner and her mother was expressed in the suicide note.
“But, it also brings out the fact that the second wife i.e. mother of the petitioner and that at worst she at the behest of the petitioner was making monetary demands or asking for a share in agricultural land from the deceased.”
“The informant in the present case is the son-in-law the deceased, who is married to the daughter of the deceased from his first wife,” the bench noted.
Further, the Court took into account the fact that the suicide note in this case was prepared on September 9, 2021, whereas he actually committed suicide five days later, on September 14, 2021.
The bench concluded that there was no proximate connection between the extreme action taken by the deceased and the harassment regarding the recording of the suicide note that was allegedly ordered by the petitioner.
The FIR filed against the daughter was thus dismissed by the court.
The petitioner’s attorney, AM Sudame, was present.
The State was represented by Additional Public Prosecutor SM Ghodeswar.