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Supreme Court: Advising Partner to Marry Someone Else Not Abetment to Suicide

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Supreme Court Law Insider

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Published on: February 12, 2024 at 15:26 IST

The Supreme Court, in a recent judgment, ruled that suggesting a partner to marry as per parental advice does not amount to abetment to suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

The case involved a girl who died by suicide after her boyfriend advised her to marry in accordance with her parents’ wishes.

The police filed an FIR for abetment to suicide, which the High Court refused to quash. The appellant then approached the Supreme Court.

Justices Vikram Nath and K.V. Viswanathan, in their observation, stated that broken relationships and heartbreaks are a part of everyday life.

They asserted that advising the deceased girl to marry according to her parents’ advice, akin to the appellant’s own actions, did not demonstrate any intention to abet suicide. The court emphasized that the offense under Section 306 was not established.

The Supreme Court, after examining the allegations in the FIR and relevant legal precedents, concluded that the appellant could not be held guilty of abetting the girl’s suicide.

The Court underscored the necessity for direct or indirect acts of incitement for charging someone with abetment to suicide. Referring to its recent decision in Kamalakar vs. State of Karnataka, the Court clarified that casual words uttered in the heat of the moment, without the expectation of serious consequences, do not constitute abetment.

To establish instigation for suicide, the prosecution must demonstrate that the accused created circumstances compelling the deceased to take their life.

The Court highlighted that instigation involves continuous acts or omissions leading to the deceased having no other option but to commit suicide.

Consequently, the Court quashed the pending criminal proceedings against the accused under Section 417 (Punishment of Cheating) and Section 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Woman Act, 2002.

The judgment signifies the court’s careful consideration of the legal nuances surrounding abetment to suicide in the context of relationship advice.