Gujarat High Court Quashes FIR Against School Trustee and Teacher in Student Suicide Case

In the case of Chandresh Vasantbhai Malani vs. State of Gujarat, Gujarat High Court quashes FIR against school trustee and teacher accused of student suicide abetment, citing lack of mens rea.

In a significant ruling, the Gujarat High Court has quashed the FIR lodged against a school trustee and teacher from Surat, accused of abetting a student’s suicide. The case involved the tragic demise of an 18-year-old student in 12th grade at Samarpan School, who took his own life by jumping from the 11th floor of an apartment in 2016. Allegations suggested that disciplinary actions, including physical punishment, led to the student's suicide.

Prosecution argued that these actions amounted to instigation for suicide. However, the defense countered, emphasizing lack of intent and mens rea. Senior Advocate Mr. Asim Pandya highlighted absence of essential ingredients for the offense during proceedings.

Presiding over the case, Justice Divyesh A. Joshi meticulously analyzed allegations and legal principles involved. He emphasized mens rea and direct contribution by accused to deceased’s decision. Quoting, “To attract first clause of Section 107 IPC, there must be instigation... accused must have ‘mens rea’ to instigate.”

The court scrutinized events leading to suicide and concluded accused's actions didn't meet abetment threshold. Citing Madhavrao Jiwajirao Scindia v. Sambhajirao Chandrajirao Angre (1988) 1 SCC 692, court emphasized uncontroverted allegations must prima facie establish offense.

Referring to Madan Mohan Singh v. State of Gujarat (2010) 8 SCC 628, court emphasized unsubstantiated allegations cannot sustain criminal prosecution. Justice Joshi meticulously analyzed allegations against accused in light of Sections 107 and 306 IPC, emphasizing correct mens rea and direct role.

The court also referenced Mahmood Ali & Ors. v. State of U.P. & Ors., stressing scrutiny of FIRs in frivolous cases. Quoting parameters in State of Haryana v. Bhajan Lal, court reiterated FIR must disclose cognizable offense.