Delhi HC: Suicide Note Mention Not Sole Basis for Abetment Prosecution

Delhi HC: Mere mention in suicide note not sole basis for abetment prosecution in Asha Rani v. State of NCT of Delhi & Ors.

In a significant legal ruling, the Delhi High Court has underscored that the mere mention of an individual's name in a suicide note cannot serve as the sole basis for initiating prosecution or securing a conviction for the offense of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Justice Manoj Kumar Ohri delivered the judgment, asserting that Section 306 necessitates the establishment of a causal link or proximity between the actions of the accused and the deceased's decision to end their life.

"The specific act of the accused has to be seen in light of the surrounding/attending circumstances of each case to determine if the same could be attributed as the cause of suicide," the court remarked.

The case in question involved a plea filed by a wife whose husband tragically took his own life allegedly due to harassment by their daughter-in-law and her parents, who had vacated the matrimonial home with their belongings.

Following a thorough investigation, the police filed a final report, citing lack of concrete evidence apart from the suicide note linking the accused individuals to the alleged offense. Despite the petitioner's protest petition, the trial court upheld the final report's dismissal.

Justice Ohri, concurring with the trial court's decision, emphasized the absence of substantive evidence linking the daughter-in-law and her parents to the deceased or the circumstances leading to his suicide.

"A perusal of the undated suicide note would also show that neither any details have been given nor many specific incidents have been mentioned, which might have abetted the deceased to commit suicide," the court observed.

Additionally, the court considered the statement of an independent witness who attested that the deceased was distressed due to his own actions, particularly the transfer of possession of the house to a third party.

"In the facts of the present case, apart from their name coming in the suicide note of the deceased, no other fact has been placed on record as to show what act was committed by the respondents leading to the deceased committing suicide," the court stated.

The legal proceedings saw representation from Mr. Pradeep Kumar Kaushik and Dr. Sunil Kumar, advocates for the petitioner, and Mr. Laksh Khanna, representing the State. Mr. Aditya Vikram and Mr. Ayushman advocated for respondents.