New Delhi, (IANS) The Supreme Court has said that anything uttered in a fit of anger resulting in another person committing an offence or taking his life would not amount to abetment or instigation.
“The words uttered in the fit of anger or omission without any intention cannot be termed as an instigation,” an apex court bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Fakkir Mohamed Ibrahim Kalifulla said in a recent judgment.
“The offence of abetment by instigation depends upon the intention of the person who abets and not upon the act which is done by the person who has abetted. The abetment may be by an instigation, conspiracy or intentional aid as provided under Section 107 of the IPC,” said Justice Chauhan who pronounced the judgment.
Holding that the instigation had to be gathered from the circumstances of a particular case, the court said: “No straight-jacket formula can be laid down to find out as to whether in a particular case there has been instigation which forces the person to commit suicide.”
Referring to a scenario where in a case there may not be direct evidence of abetment, the judgment said: “In a particular case, there may not be direct evidence in regard to instigation which may have direct nexus to suicide.”
Having pointed to a situation of no direct evidence, the judgment said that “Therefore, in such a case, an inference has to be drawn from the circumstances and it is to be determined whether circumstances had been such which in fact had created the situation that a person felt totally frustrated and committed suicide.”
“More so” the court said, “while dealing with an application for quashing of the proceedings, a court cannot form a firm opinion, rather a tentative view that would evoke the presumption referred to under Section 228 Cr.P.C. (Court of Criminal Procedure)”
The Section 228 of the Cr.P.C. deals with the framing of charges says that a judge before committing a case for trial have to be satisfied that there are grounds for presuming that the accused has committed an offence. Under the Section 228 Cr. P.C. the charges have to read and explained to the accused and the accused shall be asked whether he pleads guilty of the offence charged with or claims to be tried.
The court said this while dismissing an appeal by one Praveen Pradhan who is accused of abeting the suicide of one Anuraj Singh.
In the complaint filed by the deceased Anuraj Singh’s brother, Ambreesh Singh it was alleged that Praveen Pradhan had been compelling his brother for long to indulge in several wrongful practices at the work place, which he resisted. In retribution Pradhan allegedly started making illegal demands, which were not complied with.
As a consequence Pradhan on one occasion sought to disgrace Anuraj Singh in front of the other staff members by saying that “had there been any other person in his place, he would have died by hanging himself”.
Soon thereafter, Anuraj Singh Oct 6, 2005, narrated the incident to his relatives and next day Oct 7, 2005, committed suicide on leaving behind a note holding Pradhan responsible for his extreme step of taking his own life.
Pradhan moved the Uttrakand High Court for the quashing of the criminal proceedings against him, which was turned down Jan 5, 2012.
The apex court while dismissing the appeal by Pradhan said that in the instant case the “alleged harassment had not been a casual feature, rather remained a matter of persistent harassment.”
The court noted that in the case of deceased Anuraj Singh who was a qualified graduate engineer and still “suffered persistent harassment and humiliation.”
Additionally, the court said Anuraj Singh also had to endure continuous illegal demands made by Pradhan upon non-fulfilment of which, he would be “mercilessly harassed”, forced to work for 16-17 hours and was told “had there been any other person in his place, he would have certainly committed suicide.”
Clearing the deck for Pradhan’s trial, the court said that none of the observations made by it would adversely impact the right of Pradhan in any of the proceedings during trial as observations have been made “only and only to decide this case.”