Author: Bharat Sharma, 3rd Year, RNB Global University.
Date of Decision: October 1, 2018
Bench: R. K. Gauba
Original Copy: N/A
Issue in question: Whether the accused were liable under Section 306 of IPC or not?
Background of the case:
- On 18.07.2015, Chander Shekhar, resident of New Delhi, committed Suicide by the run over a railway train at between the place of Shahbad Mohammadpur and Bijwasan railway station. On 23.08.2015, Rajnath Singh, brother of the deceased person, lodged an FIR at Police station Sarai Rohailla Railway station for offence under Section 306 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC).
- Chandra Sekhar was working with a business name Style of Laxmi Float Glass Ltd., which is run by the four petitioners in this case. On to third petitioner are brother of each other and the fourth petitioner are the son of first petitioner. Office of the business is at A-2/10, WHS, DDA Marbal Market, Kirti Nagar, New Delhi. Chandra Sekhar was working as an employee in this business and his responsibility relating to various sales made by company in different cities and town of Haryana. The first complainant, Rajnath Singh, the elder brother of the deceased, was also working as a salesman in this said business with his younger brother Chander Shekhar.
- The elder brother of the deceased alleged that a dispute regarding accounting of a certain amount of money arose between the deceased and the petitioner. And the dispute basically related to the amount which had been collected by the deceased. It was further alleged by the brother of the deceased that in the last week of 2015, the deceased had been called by the petitioner for rendering the account, and this statement was also supported by Anjani Kumar Singh, another employee in the said business. And along with that they both stated that, on 15.07.2015, tours were undertaken to check the account of various dealers of Haryana town., which was made by the deceased. In short, the employers suspected that the deceased had committed defalcation of money.
- It was also alleged in the report of the police that the deceased person had been working with the petitioner since 2006, and in June 2015 the petitioner terminated the Services of deceased on the false allegations that the deceased person was doing discrepancy in the account. It was also alleged that he was being harassed by the petitioner by the phone calls and threats for involving the deceased in a police case. And pressured from all this harassment, the deceased resumed work with the company. The deceased was dissatisfied with the increase in salary and left the company in April 2015.
- On 25.05.2015 deceased handover all the account to the employers and his due was settled by the employer on 30.06.2015, but deceased knows all the secret that how the employers deal with black market, that’s why the employers started exerting pressure on deceased to joining the company again, with threats that deceased would not allow to work for gain money in Delhi.
- The complainant further alleged that the deceased were called on 15.07.2015, by the petitioner in office, and again, on the basis of false accusations of defalcation of money, by the petitioner the deceased had been harassed. During investigation, the visits to the cities of Haryana to check the account of various dealers, no discrepancy was found on the part of the deceased. It was alleged that the second petitioner was engaged in a physical fight with Anjani Kumar Singh and with the deceased as well. Statement of deceased wife Juhi and brother of deceased V.K. Singh was also recorded in which they also stated about the harassment by the petitioner towards the deceased.
- According to the statement of Ved Prakash who was engaged as a sales manager in said business, said that during the enquiry made by petitioner on aforementioned tour, Ved Prakash mentioned that deceased having collected Rs. 60,000/- and Rs. 11,000/- from dealers named Sidhi Vinayak Glass House and Karan Glass House respectively. Said amount was deposited by the deceased in his personal account, with State Bank of India, Jaunpur. He also mentioned four bearing cheque, dated 12.09.2012, 07.09.2013, 31.13.2013, 07.05.2013 for Rs.1 lakh, 75,000/-, 60,000/-, and one lakh respectively, were also show discrepancies in accounts, which is done by the deceased. On the basis of the above discussed fact and evidence, the investigation agency concluded that the criminal breach of trust was found on the part of the deceased. Investigation agency said along with there is no proof found that the deceased have been subjected to harassment, ill-treatment or torture by the petitioner.
- The Metropolitan Magistrate did not agree with the above contention and stated that as the deceased left the job, but the petitioner forced him or pressured him to join the company again and had been subjected to harassment, ill-treatment by the petitioner towards the deceased due to which he had no option other than taking his life. He took cognizance of the offence and summoned the petitioners as accused.
- Aggrieved by the order passed by the Magistrate, the petitioner filed an appeal under Section 482 of CRPC in High Court Delhi. Court said that there is no doubt left in this that the deceased committed suicide by coming under the railway train wheel on 18.07.2015. The questions that will be left to adjudicate is that whether any person is responsible for abetment of the said suicide or not which is punishable under Section 306 of IPC. The court said that according to the definition of abetment under Section 107 0of IPC there should be instigation any person to do that act or second one is engaging one or more persons in this act.
- The High Court was on the observation that for prosecuting a person under the offence of abetment to suicide there must be presences of Mens rea on the part of such person and along with this proof of certain act done by such person for committing the offence of abetment to suicide. If a married woman commit suicide the presumption can be raised of abetment. But in normal case of abetment for suicide, evidence of instigation, must be searched by the court. The Court noted the statement of the widow of the deceased, it was not specified in which period of time the deceased left the job. According to the statement given to police, services were terminated by the employers. And in a complaint claiming that the deceased had decided to leave the employment in April, 2015. After hearing all the witnesses, it would be concluded that deceased is continued in employment till the date of suicide.
- During the ill-treatment of the petitioner no one raised the question on it, nor a protest had made against harassment, not even lodged any complaint with any authority in such regards, and they all were continued in employment till the last date of suicide was committed. No evidence was presented before the Magistrate regarding that the petitioner instigated or provoked the deceased to do suicide. The suicide note is also silent about the harassment by the employer it’s only show that the deceased is in frustration due to not being able to account for money to the employers.
- The Court found no evidence on record that the petitioner left no option for the deceased other than to commit suicide. The Order passed by the Magistrate could not thus be upheld and the orders passed by the Metropolitan Magistrate on date 03.12.2016 were set aside by the High Court of Delhi and proceedings against the petitioner were quashed.
- So, in this instant case Section 306 was discussed by the court and the interpretation on the wording of said Section were also discussed in this case. Court describes the Section 107 of IPC in regard to the word of abetment. After all aforesaid Section court discussed the essentiality of the mens rea with provocation in the case of abetment to suicide.