Merely because wife committed suicide in matrimonial house, husband and in-laws can’t be charged for abetment to suicide

Chhattisgarh High Court: The appellant in a recent case before the High Court appealed against his conviction and sentence by lower court under Section 306 IPC for abetting the suicide of his wife. The couple had married in 1994 and it had been alleged against that the husband and the in-laws used to harass her which abetted her to commit suicide.

The counsel for the appellant contended before the Court that there was no complaint of any sort harassment to the deceased by her husband or in-laws and it was only after she had committed suicide that the allegations were made against the appellants. The defense in the lower court had defended saying that the deceased committed suicide due to her on going chronic illness treatment for which was also going on.

The Court took note of the fact that the prosecution had presented eight witnesses to support their case and out of them, none was the independent witness, but only the close relatives of the deceased and observed that therefore, a minute examination of these witnesses would be required. The Bench of Arvind Singh Chandel, J. finally noticed on examining the records of witnesses and their cross-examinations that there was no evidence on record to show grievous issue between the deceased and her in-laws, based on which the trial court had convicted the appellants.

The Court held that merely because the deceased committed suicide in her matrimonial house, her in-laws and husband cannot be charged for harassment and abetment to commit suicide in absence of concrete or conclusive evidence. The appeal was finally allowed. [Chhannu v. State of Chhattisgarh, 2017 SCC OnLine Chh 1234, decided on 06.11.2017]

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