Instant incitement not compulsory to charge with abetment in matrimonial suicide cases: Bombay HC
Justice Bhatkar was hearing a plea filed by a Solapur resident whose pregnant daughter committed suicide in February.mumbai Updated: Mar 25, 2017 23:15 IST
In cases of suicides resulting from matrimonial disputes or sustained torture, ‘immediate inducement’ cannot be considered a compulsory requirement to charge someone with abetment, held the Bombay high court recently.
Justice Mridula Bhatkar observed that in cases of abetment of suicide, it is common for courts to investigate the gap between when the victim was instigated and when he committed suicide. However, in cases of matrimonial disputes, a long time gap cannot render the case weak, she said.
Justice Bhatkar was hearing a plea filed by a Solapur resident whose pregnant daughter committed suicide in February.
The victim had been married for three years, during which she was tortured, abused, and assaulted by her husband, in-laws and relatives, said the police. They would also demand money from her family. In October 2016, the victim left her marital home and moved to her parents’ house. Soon after, two of her husband’s relatives sent her a divorce notice on his behalf.
The relatives, Ashok Giranjae and Sumit Giranjae, are lawyers. They had assaulted and tortured the victim on several occasions, said the police.
While the victim’s husband and in-laws were charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code for demanding dowry, committing acts of domestic violence and abetting suicide, the police also charged Ashok and Sumit with abetment.
The charges were based on victim’s suicide note, in which she had blamed the two for concocting a false story questioning her character and humiliating her, so her husband could secure a divorce decree.
Ashok and Sumit however, approached the high court seeking bail. They said they could not be charged with abetment as they had only been doing their job when they sent the victim the divorce notice. They added that a ‘long time-gap’ existed between their having sent the notice and the victim committing suicide.
They said she hanged herself to death four months after the divorce notice and thus, this “cooling off period of four months revealed that the compulsory factor of immediate inducement in cases of abetment was missing.”
Justice Bhatkar however, said, “The accused were not merely acting as advocates. They were acting in a dual capacity. They made direct allegations about her character. All these things had a cumulative impact, and drove the victim to commit suicide. Thus, the four months were not a cooling period, but a period of sinking, during which she felt humiliated, lost self-respect and ended up taking her own life.”