The Delhi High Court has ruled a person can be convicted of abetment of suicide only if there is a motive and a definite act on his part to force the victim to take the extreme step.
The ruling could be viewed with keen interest by the defence and prosecution in the case where former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore has been accused of abetting the suicide of Ruchika Girhotra, 3 years after he allegedly molested her.
The court gave the ruling while acquitting three people — who raped a girl on January 12, 2002, after which she committed suicide—of ‘abetment of suicide’ charges.
Devender, Sanjay and Jasbir were, however, sentenced to 10 years for gang rape.
As per the prosecution, the woman felt so humiliated she ended her life on returning home by taking sulphas tablets.
“In the instant case, it cannot be said that the rapists had the intention to instigate the deceased to commit suicide for the reason that there is no material on the record wherefrom it could be inferred that the rapists raped the deceased with an intention to instigate her to commit suicide,” ruled a bench headed by justice Pradeep Nandrajog also referring to several Supreme Court judgments.
No common pattern
“The question as to what is the cause of a suicide has no easy answers because suicidal behaviours in human beings are complex and multifaceted. Different individuals in the same situation react and behave differently because of the personal meaning they add to each event, thus accounting for individual vulnerability to suicide. Each individual's suicidability pattern depends on his inner subjective experience of mental pain, fear and loss of self-respect,” said the court.
“A judge cannot be emotional”
A trial court had in 2008 sentenced the three accused to life. But the High Court commuted their sentence to ten years taking into consideration their young age and no past history of criminal activity.