Kerala High Court: Settlement Doesn't Quash Abetment of Suicide Charges

Kerala HC rules: Abetment of suicide cases can't be quashed based on settlement alone. Strong evidence warrants continuation of proceedings.

The Kerala High Court recently ruled that cases of abetment of suicide can't be quashed solely due to a settlement between parties if there's prima facie evidence under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.

Justice A. Badharudeen stated that quashing such cases based on settlement is possible only when the facts don't support the allegations.

"The law regarding quashment of a crime alleging commission of offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC is that when the facts of the case placed on materials could not constitute anything to substantiate prima facie commission of offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC, in such cases as an exception to the general rule, quashment of the said crime, under Section 482 of Cr.P.C is legally permissible. At the same time, when the prosecution materials are sufficient, prima facie, merely because of settlement, a crime alleging commission of offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC cannot be quashed. In fact, in such cases the relatives could not settle the case either by filing affidavit or otherwise," the Court ruled.

The case involved a couple seeking to quash charges of abetting the suicide of the man's mother. They claimed innocence and asserted that misunderstandings were resolved after discussions within the family.

However, the prosecution argued against quashing, citing evidence including a suicide note alleging harassment and threats by the petitioners over property matters.

Referring to precedent, the Court emphasized that criminal proceedings shouldn't be terminated solely due to settlement, quoting the decision in Daxaben v. State of Gujarat & Ors.

After reviewing the facts, the Court concluded that strong evidence warranted continuation of proceedings, dismissing the petition and directing further investigation.

The petitioners were represented by advocate Celine Joseph, while Senior Public Prosecutor Renjith Grorge appeared for the State.