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Supreme Court acquits husband from allegations of wife’s suicide, speculation on unnatural death should be observed in evidences

SC: Speculation on unnatural death should be observed in evidences
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The bench comprising Justices NV Ramana, Suryakant, Hrishikesh Roy, acquitted a husband from the allegations of his wife’s suicide, has already undergone sentence for about two years.

In the matter of Gurcharan Singh Vs State, the bench observed no evidences proving the cruelty by the husband or parents-in-law and said that speculation on the unnatural death should be observed in evidences.

In the matter, the learned counsel for the State refers to the statements of the parents of the deceased, that after three year of marriage, the deceased was beaten and then sent to her parental home to bring Rupees 20,000 from for purchase of a plot. The deceased “commit suicide in her matrimonial home on the very day, when her father dropped her back”.

An FIR was registered in August, 1997 under section 498A/304B/34 IPC. The case was registered on the statements of the father of the deceased. The husband or parents-in-law were charged in the case. The post mortem report revealed that the deceased took the poison.

The bench observed that there is no “direct evidence” of cruelty against the husband or in-laws. However the bench also noted that “care and treatment was given to the deceased in the matrimonial home and in the hospital”.

“whenever a person instigates or intentionally aids by any act or illegal omission, the doing of a thing, a person can be said to have abetted in doing that thing”, the bench explained the definition of ‘abetment’.

The bench then said that, “mens rea” has to be established in all crimes and also the state of mind to commit the crime must be visible.

“As in all crimes, mens rea has to be established. To prove the offence of abetment, as specified under Sec 107 of the IPC, the state of mind to commit a particular crime must be visible, to determine the culpability.”

The bench further said that, ‘mens rea’ cannot be assumed, there should be some record to prove the intention.

“In order to prove mens rea, there has to be something on record to establish or show that the appellant herein had a guilty mind and in furtherance of that state of mind, abetted the suicide of the deceased. The ingredient of mens rea cannot be assumed to be ostensibly present but has to be visible and conspicuous.”

The bench also said in the order that, the theory of the Trial Court and High Court was not observed in the evidences.

“The conviction of Appellant by the Trial Court as well as the High Court on the theory that the woman with two young kids might have committed suicide, possibly because of the harassment faced by her in the matrimonial house, is not at all borne out by the evidence in the case.”

The observed that, the Trial Court and High Court convicted the husband without any evidence.

“The Trial Court and the High Court speculated on the unnatural death and without any evidence concluded only through conjectures, that the appellant is guilty of abetting the suicide of his wife.”

The bench then set aside the orders of the Trial Court and High Court.

“Consequently, interfering with the impugned judgment of the High Court and the Trial Court, the appellant’s conviction under Section 306 IPC is set aside and quashed.”

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