Justice PN Deshmukh upheld the order by the Additional Sessions Judge of the trial court in a judgement dated May 11, 2017.
An FIR was filed against a couple for abetting the suicide of their sister-in-law who jumped into well and drowned.
It was the case of the prosecution that the accused, Jyoti asked the deceased to commit suicide right before she actually went and jumped into the well and drowned.
Deceased’s mother, Bharati who is also the complainant, said that her daughter was residing with her husband in the same house as his brother, Ramesh and his wife Jyoti. Although they had been living in separate areas since the last 3-4 years.
Bharati further stated that one and a half years prior to the incident, her deceased daughter had come to her parent’s house in Pen with her husband and daughter. Then the accused Jyoti scolded the deceased and she went back to her matrimonial home in Lonare. There a quarrel took place between the accused and the deceased, this is when Bharati and her husband Bhaskar intervened and were able to pacify Jyoti.
An assurance was given to Police Patil of Lonare village that such an incident won’t happen again.
However, on November 16 2001, deceased came to her parent’s house in Pen. The next day, her mother (Bharati) took her back to Lonare. On that night, the deceased was unwell and it was later revealed by Head Constable Mhatre (Investigating Officer) that she actually had an epileptic attack which he was informed about during the investigation.
The fact that the deceased had an epileptic attack was denied by complainant Bharati.
In the morning of November 19, when Bharati was about to leave for her house in Pen, the deceased and both the accused got into an argument, during this exchange Jyoti asked the deceased to commit suicide, this is when deceased jumped into the well.
According to Bharati, her daughter was also manhandled by the accused during the said altercation.
Justice Deshmukh noted that the prosecution relied heavily on the statement of the complainant, deceased’s mother Bharati. He further noted that her statement cannot be relied upon as she admitted that there was some dispute between the deceased and her husband prior to incident and he also issued legal notice to her, Bharati also admitted that after the marriage of accused, they were residing separately from deceased and her husband.
Noting that there is every possibility of the deceased committing suicide due to ill-health, Justice Deshmukh observed that the trial Judge had rightly disbelieved the evidence of the parents (of the deceased) as they are interested witnesses. He said-
“In that view of the matter since case of prosecution of quarrel between deceased and accused immediately prior to incident of deceased causing suicide is itself not reliable to be acted upon. It cannot be said that accused in any manner had abetted the deceased to commit suicide.
By now law on the point of offence punishable under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code is well established. For invoking the provisions of Section 306 of Indian Penal Code it is necessary for prosecution to establish that deceased committed suicide as a result of cruelty provided to her within the meaning of Section 498A of Indian Penal Code and that the act of commission of suicide is abated by the accused. In the case in hand on considering evidence as aforesaid there is no material to establish that accused abetted commission of suicide much less immediately prior to deceased committing suicide.”
Read the Judgment here.