Abetting suicide requires intention, says Bombay HC, grants bail to Pune resident
The man was booked by Chikhali police in Pune district along with several others for harassing and driving Mangal, an elderly woman, to death by suicideUpdated: Sep 19, 2020, 11:20 IST
Reiterating that abetment of suicide requires intention and involvement on the part of the accused, the Bombay high court on Friday granted bail to a Pune resident booked for abetting suicide of an elderly woman.
In order to sustain a conviction for the offence under section 306 of IPC, there has to be a clear mens rea -- active participation or direct act which leads the deceased, having left with no other option, to take the drastic step -- said justice Bharati Dangre while granting bail to Sachin Shinde.
Shinde was booked by Chikhali police in Pune district along with several others for harassing and driving Mangal, an elderly woman, to death by suicide.
According to police, Shinde and several others were duped by Mangal’s son, Chandrashekar, who had lured them to part with substantial amounts of money promising to secure jobs for them. He, however, failed to fulfil the promise and also did not return the amounts.
When the victims started demanding their money back, Chandrashekar absconded, forcing the unemployed people to accost his family members. They visited Chandrashekar’s house twice in January 2019 and threatened his mother in an attempt to recover their money.
Eventually, on March 6, 2019, both Mangal and her sister, Alka Babar, consumed some poisonous substance and tried to end their lives. Alka survived, and on the basis of her complaint, police booked Shinde and others for abetting Mangal’s suicide.
Shinde had moved high court for an anticipatory bail after his plea was turned down by the Pune sessions court on July 23, 2020.
The high court, however, granted him pre-arrest bail after noticing that there was no proximity between the alleged incidents of harassment, which took place in January 2019 and the suicide in March 2019, and therefore “prima facie, the material on record cannot hold the applicant responsible for driving the deceased to take the extreme step.”
Justice Dangre also noted the anguish of the cheated men. The judge said one can understand how difficult it is for a person to arrange a sum with a ray of frail hope that their kith and kin or they themselves would get jobs, but in this case, neither employment came nor the money was returned by Chandrashekhar. “He pushed them against the dead wall and therefore they sought their money back.”