This article is written by Advocate Devshree Dangi. This article is a case summary of a landmark judgement of the Supreme Court in the matter of Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh (2001). It talks about the principles laid down in this case by the Supreme Court regarding the abetment of suicide and cruelty towards married women. This article also analyses the findings and observations of the Supreme Court and their implications for various subsequent cases.

The present article discusses the importance of appropriately analysing the facts and evidence, especially in criminal cases. This case, Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh (2001), involved a complex legal matter that revolved around the tragic death of the victim by suicide within one year of her marriage to the accused appellant. The accused appellant was convicted under Sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1872 (hereinafter referred to as the IPC). All the allegations were based on the offences of ‘abetment of suicide’ and ‘cruelty’ under the said Act. The Trial Court found him guilty of committing the said offences and sentenced him to punishment of rigorous imprisonment for seven years and two years for abetment of suicide and cruelty, respectively. The same was maintained and upheld by the High Court of Chhattisgarh. The accused appellant then approached the Supreme Court of India through an appeal against his conviction and sentencing.  

  • Name of the case: Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh 
  • Type of case: Criminal appeal no. 617 of 2000
  • Name of the Court: Supreme Court 
  • Bench: It was decided by the three-judge bench composed of Justice Dr. A.S. Anand, Justice R.C. Lahoti, and Justice K.G. Balakrishnan.
  • Name of the parties: Ramesh Kumar (Appellant), State of Chhattisgarh (Respondent). 
  • Important statutes and provisions: Sections 306 and 498A of the Indian Penal Code, 1872, and Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
  • Date of the judgement: 17th October 2021.

The victim in this case, Seema Devi, was the wife of the petitioner. She got married on 23rd June,1986 to the petitioner. Unfortunately, within a year of their marriage, Seema ended her life by committing suicide. She poured kerosine on herself and set herself on fire. Before committing suicide, she wrote a suicide note and a letter addressed to her husband, Ramesh Kumar. In the suicide note, she mentioned an incident between her and the accused appellant that happened right before she committed suicide. She wrote that she invited her sister and her sister’s husband to their house to have food with them, but later she forgot about it. Her sister and her husband came to Seema’s house and found that nobody was there. Ramesh found her act of inviting guests and forgetting about the same devoid of etiquette and courtesy. Seema outlined in the suicide note that the accused appellant forcibly pushed her out of the house because she forgot about what she had planned with her sister. After this incident, she had to go to Brahmanpura on her own. However, the accused appellant followed her and persuaded her to return to their house. However, on returning to their home, the accused appellant had violently beaten her for hours, which kept on repeating the next morning as well.

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Allegedly, it was stated as the reason for Seema committing suicide and putting herself on fire, which led to her death. Though the relatives of Seema and her neighbours had given various reasons why Seema could have committed suicide. The Trial Court found the accused appellant guilty of abetment of suicide and cruelty under the IPC and sentenced him to rigorous imprisonment for seven years for abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC and two years rigorous imprisonment for inflicting cruelty under Section 498A upon her. The accused appellant moved to the High Court of Chhattisgarh and appealed against the order of the Trial Court. The High Court upheld the decision of the Trial Court. Subsequently, the present appeal was preferred before the Supreme Court as a Special Leave Petition against the conviction of the accused appellant.

The findings of the Trial Court and the High Court were based on the statements of five key witnesses, who were close relatives and family friends of the victim, Seema Devi. All the statements of these witnesses highlighted the instances of tension, misunderstandings, and suspicions between Seema and the accused appellant.

Sohan Lal Sharma (PW16)

Sohan Lal Sharma was the father of Seema. He stated that the marriage of Seema with the accused appellant happened harmoniously. They wished to provide the dowry to their daughter as per their own wishes. He further said that both of them used to visit his house frequently. He pointed out that once, when he visited Seema’s house, she told him that the accused appellant complained about the quality of the items given to her in dowry. Though this statement was not accepted for two reasons, firstly, he had not disclosed this thing to the police initially, and secondly, it was contrary to his statement where he said that Seema had never shared anything about her in-laws house.  

Prabhawati Devi (PW19)

Prabhavati Devi was the mother of Seema. In her statement, she indicated the good behaviour of the accused appellant towards her. She stated that he was respectful and affectionate towards her. She also highlighted that her husband, Sohan Lal, had never complained to her about the behaviour of the accused appellant. She made it clear that the accused appellant had never demanded dowry, and if there was something which was concerned to this or about him harassing their daughter Seema, her husband would have either disclosed it to her or the police about the same. 

Atul Kumar (PW4)

Atul Kumar is the brother of Seema. He made a statement that he was told by his parents that the accused appellant was teasing her sister Seema. After his sister’s marriage to the accused appellant, Atul visited their house 15 to 20 times. But Seema had never shared anything about her being harassed by the accused appellant. In his statement, Atul also pointed out that he had seen her sister Seema tense and terrorised when he used to visit her house. During the cross-examination, Atul admitted that he and the accused appellant shared good relations. Also, his sister Seema and the accused appellant used to visit their house very often, especially on festival days, which further indicated that the movements of Seema were not restricted by the accused appellant. Seema used to stay in her parents house, and she stayed twice after her marriage to the accused appellant. 

Shalini (PW5)

Shalini is the sister of Seema. In her statement, she recounted an incident where Seema planned to invite Shalini and her husband for food, but later she forgot about the same. On the arrival of Shalini and her husband, they found nobody in Seema’s house. It leads to the accused appellant’s frustration and chastisement of Seema. Shalini had pointed out that there was marital discord between the accused appellant and Seema. The accused appellant had suspicions about Seema’s undue intimacy with her colleagues and old friends.

Dr. Ramadhar Sharma (PW6)

Dr. Ramadhar Sharma was the husband of Shalini (Seema’s sister). His statement was similar to that of his wife, Shalini. He pointed out Seema’s forgetfulness about the invitation. He also supported his wife’s statement regarding the accused appellant’s suspicions about Seema’s interactions with her colleagues and old friends.

Shashi Gupta (PW3)

She was the neighbour of the accused appellant. She witnessed the incident that occurred on the day of Seema’s death. She stated that on 16th June 19860, at about 8:30 a.m., she was buying vegetables outside her house. Suddenly, she noticed smoke coming out of the accused appellant’s house and heard cries from inside. She called her father and younger brother to help, and they forcefully opened the door and entered the house. Inside the house of the accused appellant, they witnessed a disturbing scene. They found Seema unclothed and severely burned. The accused appellant was trying to wrap her in a bedsheet, endeavouring to save her life. Shashi Gupta then directed her brother to prepare the jeep and call the driver. Then, the accused appellant, accompanied by two others, transported Seema to the hospital for urgent medical assistance. 

  • The maintainability of the sentence imposed by the High Court in its judgement was challenged on the ground that the words of the accused appellant, “You are free to go wherever you want and free to do anything you wish,” amount to the abetment of suicide?
  • Whether the actions of the accused appellant amounted to the abetment of suicide?
  • Whether a person can be held guilty for the offence of abetment of suicide if there exists a reasonable doubt?
  • Whether the act of cruelty automatically results in the commission of abetment of suicide by the accused?

Petitioner

  • The Petitioner (accused appellant) argued that he had never asked for dowry from Seema’s parents. They relied on the statements made by the key witnesses in this case, where they revealed the fact that they were never asked for dowry by the accused appellant.
  • The Petitioner argued that he had never harassed Seema. Her movements were not restricted by him, and she also used to visit her parents with him. She also stayed at her parent’s house a couple of times after their marriage. The accused appellant relied on statements made by the key witnesses in this case. 
  • The accused appellant highlighted the incident on the date of Seema’s death. He stated that while he was leaving for his office, Seema requested him to take her to her sister’s house. The accused appellant  had asked her to go by herself there and told her that she was free to go anywhere she wanted and free to do anything she wished, and he carried on getting ready for office. Later, he heard Seema’s cry from the kitchen, where he saw her ablaze, so he tried to save her and took her to the hospital with the help of his neighbours. The accused appellant argued that the statement made by him was not intended to cause Seema’s death, but in a very casual manner, he asked her to go herself to her sister’s house. The same was misinterpreted or misunderstood by Seema. 

Respondent

  • The prosecution argued that the statement of the accused appellant that “you are free to go anywhere and free to do anything you wish” was the reason why Seema committed suicide. The accused appellant abetted her to commit suicide. 
  • The prosecution relied on the witnesses, who revealed that the accused appellant had suspicions about his wife having undue intimacy with her old friends and colleagues. 
  • The prosecution highlighted the maladjustment between Seema and the accused appellant, which, according to the prosecution, was the main reason for their fight on the day of Seema’s death.
  • The prosecution pointed out Seema’s death by committing suicide within one year of her marriage to the accused appellant. They relied on Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The prosecution argued that this case satisfies all the conditions outlined under this Section. Thus, the court can presume that this incident of Seema’s death is a case of abetment of suicide by the accused appellant.

Section 306 of the IPC

Under the IPC, the offence of abetment of suicide aims to hold individuals accountable for their actions, which could lead another to end their own life. According to Section 306 of the IPC, if any person commits suicide, then the person responsible for abetting the commission of such suicide is liable for punishment with imprisonment up to ten years and a fine. The word ‘abetment’ used under this Section involves encouraging, instigating, or aiding someone to commit an act of suicide. This can also include giving someone directions on methods of suicide, providing the means, or creating certain circumstances that could pressurize someone to commit suicide. 

In the present case, the Supreme Court set a precedent for the subsequent cases and interpreted the contents of Section 306. The Supreme Court stated that it is crucial for the conviction of the accused under Section 306 that their actions were intended to lead to an individual’s committing suicide are proved.The Supreme Court explained that, for a conviction of an accused under Section 306 of the IPC, it must be proven that their actions were intended to, and indeed did, lead to an individual committing suicide. Evidence such as communications, witness testimonies, and the context of their relationship with the victim must be given the utmost importance. Also, the appropriate analysis is crucial to determine the circumstances.

In the present case, the Supreme Court highlighted the need for differentiating the two offences: cruelty under Section 498A and abetment of suicide under Section 306. To handle such complex matters, the court should consider the differences between two offences. The commission of an offence doesn’t necessarily involve the commission of another offence. If the evidence is sufficient to prove the commission of an offence but fails to prove the other offence, the benefit of the doubt can be given to the accused appellant.

Section 498A IPC

This Section outlines the provisions for punishment for cruelty towards a married woman by her husband and his relatives. It provides a clear understanding of what constitutes cruelty. The definition of cruelty in this Section focuses on two important factors: willful conduct and harassment.

Under this Section, cruelty includes intended actions that have the potential to push a woman to commit suicide. Additionally, cruelty also includes harassment to pressure a woman or her relatives to fulfil their illegal demands, such as demands for any property or valuable security. It also includes harassing a woman or her relatives for non-fulfilment of their unlawful demands. 

The Supreme Court, in this case, highlighted that the actions of the accused appellant, including teasing Seema, ill-treating her for the mistakes that could have been forgiven, turning her out of the house, and beating her, constitute a crime of cruelty under Section 498A. However, any unlawful demand for dowry was not proven, but physical violence such as beating her and mental harassment by ill-treating her come within the meaning of cruelty under Section 498A of the IPC.

Section 107 IPC

This Section enumerates provisions for the abatement of a thing. In this Section, abetment includes three significant factors: instigation, conspiracy, and intentional aid. 

Abetment of a thing by instigation occurs when a person actively encourages another person to do a certain act. It involves motivating or influencing someone’s decision to engage in unlawful behaviour. Abetment through conspiracy means engaging with one or more persons in organising the commission of a crime. Lastly, abetment through intentional aid occurs when a person intentionally facilitates or supports the commission of a crime by another person.

In the present case, the Supreme Court interpreted the term ‘instigation’ and opined that the accused appellant  had not instigated the victim to commit suicide and acquitted him of the charges of abetment of suicide as enumerated under Section 306 of the IPC. 

Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872

This Section outlines provisions for the Court to presume the abetment of suicide by a married woman. This provision mandates two significant conditions: the victim has committed suicide within seven years of her marriage, and she was inflicted with cruelty by her husband or his relatives. 

For the court to presume the suicide of the victim as abetted by her husband or his relatives, there should be an appropriate analysis of the circumstances and facts. Even if the cruelty is proved and there exists a reasonable doubt that the accused appellant may have abetted the victim to commit suicide, the court should consider every single detail of the case. However, this Section empowers the courts to presume the suicide of a married woman as abetted by her husband or his relatives if the given conditions are satisfied. But at the same time, it is up to the court to decide whether the presumption is appropriate or not. The courts are not bound to presume the same, even if the given conditions are satisfied. 

In the present case, the Supreme Court delivered the judgement based on the circumstances, the testimony of witnesses, and the evidence adduced and denied the implication of this Section. 

The Supreme Court, after carefully analysing the case, found that the Trial Court and the High Court were erroneous in confirming the conviction of the accused appellant under Section 306 of the IPC. The Supreme Court explained that Seema was disappointed, frustrated, and depressed, and such feelings led her to think that she didn’t deserve to be with the accused appellant. The accused appellant may have told Seema that she is free to go anywhere she wants, which she misinterpreted as being freed from her marriage with the accused appellant. The Supreme Court stressed that this doesn’t mean that the accused appellant made her free to end her life by committing suicide. Both the Trial Court and the High Court misinterpreted the same.  

The Supreme Court interpreted the word ‘instigation’ under Section 107 of the IPC. The Supreme Court explained that instigation, from a legal perspective, includes goading, urging forward, provoking, inciting, or encouraging someone to perform “an act”. It doesn’t necessarily require any specific words or intentions that directly suggest the consequences. There must be a rational possibility that such words or actions could incite an act. In the present case, the accused appellant did not create circumstances, and his behaviour, actions, or commissions were not likely to make Seema feel compelled or left with no choice but to commit suicide. The Supreme Court emphasised that words spoken out of anger or emotion without knowing or intending the consequences can’t be said to be instigation.

The Supreme Court held that based on the evidence adduced and the dying declaration of Seema, the accused appellant hadn’t committed the offence under Section 306 of the IPC. There’s no evidence available that can prove that the accused appellant abetted Seema to commit suicide. The Supreme Court denied the presumption under Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, and acquitted the accused appellant of the charges under Section 306 of the IPC. The conviction of the accused appellant under Section 498A was maintained by the Supreme Court. 

Rationale behind this judgement

The Supreme Court explained that Section 498A and Section 306 represent distinct offences under the IPC. Subjecting a woman to cruelty constitutes a criminal offense under Section 498A, and in certain cases, if the extent of such cruelty leads to suicide, it may amount to abetment of suicide under Section 306. But it is not always necessary to imply that a person is guilty under Section 306, followed by an act of cruelty. The circumstances must be considered while implying that a person is guilty of committing an offence of abetment of suicide based on the same evidence of them committing the offense of cruelty. 

The Supreme Court relied on two pieces of evidence, one being the dying declaration of Seema and the other being the letter adduced as evidence by the friend of Seema’s father. In both the writings of the deceased, there was no solid proof of the accused appellant having been demanding dowry, nor had he harassed Seema. The only truth revealed out of all the evidence on record was the maladjustment between the accused appellant and Seema and their mutual understanding. The Supreme Court denied the presumption of abetment of suicide under Section 113A for two main reasons; Firstly, such presumption is not mandatory; secondly, all the evidence was not sufficient to prove the accused appellant was guilty of abetment of suicide. The key witnesses in this case, upon cross-examination, revealed that Seema was neither harassed nor restricted by the accused appellant. The only reason found behind this unfortunate incident was their quarrel and certain misunderstandings and misinterpretations among the accused appellant and Seema. And according to the Supreme Court, this reason alone is insufficient to prove the accused appellant guilty of commiting abetment of suicide. 

The Supreme Court referred the following case to it’s judgement: 

State of West Bengal v. Orilal Jaiswal and Another (1993)

In this case, the Court highlighted the need to assess the facts and circumstances of each case to determine the impact of their act of cruelty and the behaviour of the victim. The Court shall consider that the petulance, discord, or differences caused to the victim in their domestic life are common and typical in the society to which they belonged. And if yes, these factors are not sufficient to establish the offence of abetment of suicide. 

Facts

In this case, the victim, Usha Jaiswal, committed suicide within one year of her marriage with the accused, No. 1 Orilal Jaiswal. It was alleged that their marriage was arranged with certain dowry demands by accused No. 1 and his family. Their demands were duly fulfilled by the victim’s family at the time of their marriage. Soon after their marriage, the victim’s father-in-law passed away, and after some time, she conceived but underwent an abortion. Both accused Nos. 1 and 2 (her mother-in-law) caused severe mental anguish by accusing her of being unlucky for their family. Also, accused No. 1 used to physically assault the victim. On the day of her suicide, accused No. 1 shared an incident of a quarrel with the victim with her mother and asked her to come and sort this matter out. But unfortunately, the victim died. The victim’s mother made a statement to the police about the systematic abuse and mistreatment suffered by the victim. Both accused Nos. 1 and 2 were held guilty of committing offences under Sections 306 and 498A read with Section 34 of the Indian Penal Court by the Session Court. This judgement was challenged before the High Court, where the Court set aside the conviction of both the accused under Section 306 and 498A read with Section 34 of the IPC. The same was challenged before the Supreme Court. 

Issue

The main issue revolved around the acquittal of both the accused by the High Court from their conviction under Section 306 and 498A read with Section 34 of the IPC. 

Judgement

The Supreme Court held that, based upon the evidence adduced, the offence under Section 498A was clearly established against both the accused. Thus, the Supreme Court convicted both the accused No. 1 and 2 under Section 498A of the IPC and sentenced them to rigorous imprisonment for three years for accused No.1 and two years for accused No. 2, respectively (the punishment was reduced by a year for accused No. 2 considering her age). Regarding their conviction under Section 306 read with Section 34 of the IPC, the Supreme Court held that the evidence adduced was not sufficient to prove their conviction under said Section, and they were given the benefit of doubt; hence, they were acquitted of charges under Section 306 read with Section 34 of the IPC.

This case presents various significant aspects that require careful and appropriate consideration and analysis. This case underscores the need to understand the difference between the abetment of suicide and cruelty. In this case, a situation occurred where, allegedly, the act of the accused appellant was the reason behind the victim’s suicide. The decision of the Supreme Court highlights that even if the evidence is sufficient to prove cruelty, the instigation to commit suicide still needs a higher standard of proof. 

In such cases, the court should focus on the intentions and direct role of the accused appellant in causing the victim’s suicide. Further, this judgement gives a clear interpretation of ‘instigation’, especially within the context of the abetment of suicide. The Court made it very clear that mere expression of frustration or anger, even if it is misunderstood by the victim, doesn’t amount to instigation if there is no sufficient and clear intention to induce suicide. 

Moreover, a thorough evaluation of all the evidence, including witness statements, is crucial to determine the circumstances of the case. In the context of the present case, the Supreme Court scrutinised the testimony of the witnesses and the circumstances surrounding Seema’s suicide to reach a reasonable conclusion. 

As far as the offense of abetment of suicide was concerned, the Supreme Court highlighted the significance of distinguishing between the elements of cruelty under Section 498A and abetment under Section 306 of the IPC leading to suicide within marital relationships. The abetment of suicide is a crime of a serious nature and thus requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. In the present case, the evidence, including the statements of the witnesses, was not indicative of the intention of the accused appellant to induce the victim to commit suicide. Thus, the accused appellant was given the benefit of the doubt and acquitted of the charges under Section 306 of the IPC. 

This judgement on the abetment of suicide and its connection with cruelty has had a profound impact on the development of jurisprudence in various subsequent cases. This case laid down various important principles regarding the offense of abetment of suicide and cruelty towards married women. Also, for the interpretation of various legal terms under the IPC and Indian Evidence Act, 1872. This case was followed and acted as a legal precedent for various subsequent cases: 

Radhey Shyam v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2019)

In this case, the Supreme Court discussed the term ‘instigation’ under Section 107 of the IPC. The Court relied on the observations made concerning the instigation in the present case. The Court stated that for an action to qualify as an instigation, there must be a reasonable certainty of inciting the desired consequences. It ruled out that mere expressions of anger or emotion are not sufficient to imply instigation. 

Satish Chander Ahuja v. Sneha Ahuja (2020)

In this case, the Supreme Court relied on the principles laid down in Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh regarding the evidentiary value of dying declarations and their exculpatory effect. The Court reiterated that a dying declaration exonerating the accused should be given due weight unless material evidence indicates that the deceased was trying to conceal the truth.

Shamim Bano v. State of Uttar Pradesh (2020)

In this case, the Supreme Court applied the principles laid down in the present case regarding Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872. The Court stated that the presumption of abetment of suicide under Section 113A is discretionary, and the other circumstances of the case must be considered while applying such laws.  

State Govt. of NCT of Delhi v. Hanuman Singh Bisht & Anr (2023)

The Supreme Court, in this case, referred to the present case and focused on its own interpretation regarding instigation. The Court set aside the conviction of the accused as the essential ingredients required to establish the offence under Section 306 of the IPC were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

Nisha Saket v. the State of Madhya Pradesh (2024)

In this case, the Supreme Court relied on the principle outlined in the present case regarding the interpretation of ‘instigation’.The Supreme Court highlighted that a simple expression of something in a moment of anger or emotion lacking the intent to provoke the consequences of suicide doesn’t amount to instigation for the abetment of suicide.

This case sets a precedent for strict evidentiary standards for determining the direct link between the alleged acts and their outcomes. The Court in the present case focused on three important things: firstly, the understanding of what constitutes instigation, for which the Court interpreted the term instigation and highlighted that there was no such act that could be said to commit instigation by the accused appellant; secondly, there were evidences to prove cruelty, but they were not sufficient to prove the abetment of suicide by the accused appellant; and lastly, the Supreme Court highlighted that there should be proof beyond reasonable doubt to imply such a serious offence on the accused appellant. This decision by the Supreme Court sets directions for similar cases in the future. There should be a careful analysis of the circumstances and evidence to ensure justice. 

What is the difference between ordinary marital discord and instances that may constitute cruelty under Section 498A?

There is a clear definition of the offence of cruelty under Section 498A of the IPC. Under Section 498A, there are two things: firstly, if there is any willful act by the husband or his relatives that drives a woman to commit suicide, or if their act causes her grave injury or danger to her life, limb, or health, whether mental or physical. Secondly, if it involves harassment of women, coercing her or any person related to her to meet unlawful demands, or harassing her or any person related to her for not fulfilling such demands, then such acts amount to cruelty. Now, an ordinary marital discord between a married couple that is common in society is not necessarily cruelty unless it is causing the aforementioned acts by the husband or his relatives.  

If a case involves allegations of marital discord and suicide, what kind of evidence is required to prove the offence of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC?

  • The present judgement highlighted the need to understand the circumstances of such cases. If the court finds that there exists proof beyond reasonable doubt as determined on the basis of all the evidence and witnesses, the offence of abetment of suicide can be implied. 
  • But at the same time, if it seems to the Court that the instigation as to the abetment of suicide was not done and there’s no such intention to induce the same, then the allegation made despite the reasonable doubt cannot be held guilty of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the IPC. 
  • So there must be solid evidence to prove the intention of the accused appellant to commit abetment of suicide. 

Does the statement made out of anger or frustration during an argument between a married couple amount to the instigation of suicide?

The Supreme Court interpreted the term instigation as goading, urging forward, provoking, inciting, or encouraging to perform “an act,” which doesn’t necessarily require any specific words or intentions that directly suggest the consequences. Such statements cannot necessarily constitute instigation. Simply put, different cases may have different circumstances, and a thorough examination of the evidence and the facts is crucial to determine the intentions of the accused appellant. 

If a married woman commits suicide within a year of her marriage, what factors must be considered to determine the applicability of charges under Section 306 IPC? 

  • Section 113A of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, provides for presumption as to the abetment of suicide by a married woman. 
  • It provides two main conditions: first, the death must occur within seven years of the marriage of a married woman. Secondly, she was subjected to cruelty by her husband or any relative of her husband. If it appears to the Court that all these conditions are satisfied and the circumstances of the case are indicative of the commission of abetment of suicide by the accused appellant, then the Court may presume that the said offence was committed. 
  • However, this Section doesn’t make it compulsory for the Court to presume the abetment of suicide. The court may, based on the evidence and witnesses, determine the conviction of the accused appellant. 

How does Mens rea play a crucial role in determining the liability of an accused for the offence of abetment of suicide? 

The notion of Mens rea, or the mental state of the accused at the time of committing an offence, holds important significance. The Supreme Court in the present case interpreted the term ‘abetment of a thing”. The Supreme Court emphasized that to determine the guilt of abetment of suicide, the actions and intentions of the accused must be proven as a cause for an individual to commit suicide. Three factors are important to determine the liability of an accused under Section 306 of the IPC; intentions, knowledge, and awareness of the accused at the time of the offence. If the actions of the accused were intended for the victim to commit suicide, it must be proven to hold the accused liable for the offence of abetment of suicide.



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