Delhi High Court: Rajnish Bhatnagar, J., while addressing petition in regard to matrimonial discord resulting into husband committing suicide held that,
“…deceased/husband appears to be a weak character who was not in a position to face the ups and downs of life and he adopted the short cut method in order to bring an end to his agony and worldly affairs.”
On the rise of matrimonial disputes between the husband and wife i.e. deceased and petitioner/accused, respectively, petitioner left and started residing with her parents at Sikkim.
Allegations such as — gold jewellery and cash all worth 18 Lakhs was taken by the petitioner which actually belonged to the deceased.
After the said allegations were made, a complaint was filed by the police and deceased filed two cases including a petition under Section 9 of Hindu Marriage Act for Restitution of Conjugal Right.
Deceased suffered with stress and depression due to the pertaining circumstances and faced continuous threats from the petitioner resulting into committing suicide.
Deceased left a suicide note stating that the petitioner and his family members were responsible for his death.
Ramesh Gupta, Senior Counsel, for the petitioner submitted that there was no direct and proximate link between cruelties allegedly inflicted by the petitioner.
The alleged Gold Jewellery was petitioner’s Stridhan and all the other allegations are vague and false.
“…court should not act as a mouthpiece of the prosecution.”
Further, the Senior Counsel adding the following to his submissions:
Court has undoubted power to sift and weigh the evidence for finding out whether or not a prima facie case is made out against the accused.
He further urged that for the invocation of Section 306 of Penal Code, 1860, ingredients of Section 107 of the IPC have to be satisfied and it has to be established that there was instigation, provocation, incitement, or encouragement from the side of the petitioner to the deceased who committed the act of such a desperate nature.
It is further urged that the deceased was of hypersensitive nature, who failed to cope up with the hardships of life.
Analysis and Decision of the Court
Scope of this Court
At the time of framing of charge, the Court is not supposed to look into the evidence of the case in detail and is only to consider whether there is a strong suspicion against the accused on the basis of the material that comes before it. The court has the power to sift the evidence for the limited purpose of finding out, whether or not a prima facie case is made out against the accused.
However, the Court is not supposed to delve deeply into the merits of the matter and start a roving expedition into the evidence.
There is no one fixed definition that may be ascribed to the term prima facie’ nor can the term strong suspicion have a singular meaning.
Trial Court charged the petitioner for the offence under Section 306 IPC for abetting the murder of her husband.
What did the suicide note contained?
“…I am unable to face the present circumstances for which my wife Reena Prasad is responsible. Due to her false allegations against me, I am committing suicide. I wish that after my death, my dead body be handed over to my in laws. I love my wife very much but she loves money.”
“… I do not have enough means to fight court cases against Reena. Whatever cases she has filed against me are all false.”
“… I can not think clearly ever since my wife has left me. It is my desire that after my death, the money which has been taken away by my wife be utilized to pay my debts.”
Bench on perusal of the facts and the suicide note placed stated that the ingredients of abetment are totally absent in the instant case for an offence under Section 306 IPC.
Taking the totality of material on record, tone and tenor of the suicide note and facts and circumstances of this case into consideration, it leads to the irresistible conclusion that it is the deceased and he alone and none else is responsible for his death.
Deceased appeared to be hypersensitive to ordinary petulance, discord and differences in domestic life quite common to the society to which the victim belonged and such petulance, discord and differences were not expected to induce a similarly circumstanced individual in a given society to commit suicide.
In High Court’s opinion, Trial Court had failed to apply the law properly to the facts of the present case and committed an error in reading the suicide note which is shorn of ingredients of Section 306 IPC.
Reading of the suicide note clearly shows that the petitioner at no point of time instigated, goaded, incited and encouraged the deceased with such an intention that he should commit suicide.
Thus High Court found trial court’s Order to be of complete non application of the law in the right perspective and allowed the present revision petition. [Reena v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2020 SCC OnLine Del 630 , decided on 08-06-2020]