Punjab & Haryana HC: Availing Legal Remedy Isn’t Abetment of Suicide Without Specific Allegations

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Published on: October 29, 2023 at 14:42 IST

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has unequivocally stated that the mere act of availing one’s legal remedy cannot be construed as abetment of suicide, especially in the absence of specific allegations of harassment or instigation.

This important legal pronouncement came as part of a petition under Section 482 of the Cr.PC., seeking the quashing of a case involving Sections 306, 34, 120-B, and 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), along with all subsequent proceedings against the accused.

Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi, presiding over a Single Bench, emphasized, “Availing one’s legal remedy cannot amount to abetment in the absence of any specific allegation of harassment or instigation. Even otherwise, the proceedings related to the main accused, namely Sharanjit Singh and Jaskirat Singh, have already been quashed. Therefore, continuing proceedings against the present petitioner would serve no useful purpose.”

The case stems from a criminal complaint filed against the deceased regarding the dishonor of a cheque worth Rs. 90,000, initiated by the co-accused. The deceased had been convicted by a Judicial Magistrate. Subsequently, the brother of the co-accused filed another criminal complaint against the deceased for the dishonor of a cheque worth Rs. 1,70,000.

The deceased lodged an appeal before the Additional Sessions Judge, but the case was consigned to the records due to the deceased’s suicide.

The deceased had also filed a suit for a permanent injunction, seeking to prevent the defendants from misusing and transferring blank undated cheques to other individuals. However, as the plaintiff did not appear in court, the suit was dismissed. Following this, the deceased tragically took his own life by consuming Aluminum Phosphate, leading to the registration of an FIR under Sections 306, 34, 120-B IPC, and Section 420 IPC.

The High Court took into consideration various factors, stating that the petitioner was not named in the FIR, and the suicide note did not attribute any specific role to him. Additionally, the prosecution presented multiple explanations regarding how the cheques came into the possession of the accused, including the petitioner.

The Court cited the case of Harbhajan Sandhu versus State of Punjab and another, which emphasized that merely being named in a suicide note doesn’t establish the guilt of an accused, unless the elements of an offense are clearly proven.

Consequently, the High Court disposed of the petition and quashed the case against the petitioner, reiterating the principle that availing a legal remedy does not equate to abetment of suicide in the absence of specific allegations.

Case title: Kuldeep Singh v. State of Punjab and another.

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