Orissa High Court: S. K Panigrahi, J., allowed the bail application and remarked
“There is no answer as to why suicides occur because it is impossible to ever fully comprehend or analyze what goes on inside a person’s mind. Suicidal ideation and behaviors in human beings are complex and multifaceted.”
The present petitioner, who is in custody, filed the instant bail application under Section 439 Criminal Procedure Code i.e. CrPC. as the complainant Artatrana Sahu lodged an FIR stating that his daughter Puspanjali (now deceased) had left her home on 14-06-2020 for nature’s call at a nearby river but did not return. The body of the deceased was found hanging from a tree on the said river bank. On investigation, the death was opined to be suicidal in nature and three numbers were found on the phone to be frequently contacted one of them being the petitioner. Acting purely on suspicion and in the light of uncovering of facts from a few people of the area, it was suspected that the petitioner and the deceased had probably shared a relationship. Thereafter, the present petitioner was arrested and forwarded to judicial custody on 06-07-2020 for allegedly abetting the suicide of the deceased.
Counsel for the petitioner submitted that there is no prima facie case made out against the present petitioner and in the absence of any direct evidence to the contrary the petitioner is liable to be released on bail.
The Court observed that the grant or denial of bail is entirely the discretion of the judge considering a case but even so, the exercise of judicial discretion has been circumscribed by a large number of decisions rendered by the Supreme Court and by every High Court in the country. Yet, occasionally there is necessity to introspect whether denying bail to an accused person is the right thing to do on the facts and in the circumstances of a case.
The Court further observed that the offence of abetment to suicide under Section 306 of IPC has twin essential ingredients:
- a person commits suicide
- Such suicide was abetted by the accused.
This offence involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. To hold a person liable for abetting suicide, active role is required which can be described as instigating or aiding in doing thing. A person can be said to have abetted in doing of a thing, who “instigates” any person to do that thing. The word “instigate” is not defined in IPC.
In Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2001) 9 SCC 618 instigation was held as to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do “an act”. It was further observed that to satisfy the requirement of “instigation”, though it is not necessary that actual words must be used to that effect or what constitutes “instigation” must necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of being spelt out. Where the accused had, by his acts or omission or by a continued course of conduct, created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide, in which case, “instigation” may have to be inferred.
A word uttered in a fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow, cannot be said to be instigation. It is only where the accused by his acts or by a continued course of conduct creates such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide, “instigation” may be inferred.
The Court thus held “although some witnesses seem to suggest a love relationship between the petitioner and deceased, the nature of evidence that has been forthcoming does not meet the standards required to prove that the petitioner abetted the suicide of the accused. The fact as to what the degree of intimacy and affinity of the petitioner and deceased shared is a matter that can only be unearthed at the stage of trial. At this stage, for the purpose of this application, the same does not need to be gone into.”
In view of the above, bail was allowed.[Safi v. State of Orissa, BLAPL No.3623 of 2021, decided on 11-08-2021]
Arunima Bose, Editorial Assistant has reported this brief.
For Petitioner: Ms. R.L. Patnaik, S.K. Panda, K. Panda, A.K. Jena, R.C. Patnaik & A. Biswal
For Opposite Party: Mr Manoj Kumar Mohanty