Suicide; Manikandan Vs. State [Madras High Court, 16-06-2016]

Penal Code, 1860 – Section 306 – Abetment of suicide – Generally, the person who commits suicide used to/liked to leave a suicide note naming certain person as responsible for his committing suicide. Merely because a person has been so named in the suicide note we are not to immediately jump to the conclusion that he is an offender under section 306 I.P.C.


BEFORE THE MADURAI BENCH OF MADRAS HIGH COURT

DATED: 16.06.2016

CORAM THE HONOURABLE DR.JUSTICE P.DEVADASS

Crl.A.(MD)No.142 of 2016

Manikandan .. Appellant/ Sole accused Vs. State, rep. by the Inspector of Police, Thiruneelakudi Police Station, Thanjavur District. (Crime No.215 of 2011) .. Respondent

For Appellant : Mr.S.Rajaprabu. For respondent : Mr.P.Kandasamy Government Advocate (Crl. Side)

O R D E R

The sole accused in the Sessions case in S.C.No.226 of 2013, on the file of the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Fast Track Mahalir Neethimandram, Thanjavur, is the appellant.

2. In the Trial Court, he was found guilty under Section 306 IPC and sentenced to 10 years R.I. and fined Rs.5000/-, in default, directed him to undergo 6 months R.I.

3. The case of the prosecution may briefly be stated as under:

(i) The deceased is the second daughter of PWs1 and 2. Her sister is PW3. In 2011, the deceased was studying B.C.A. in a college in Kumbakonam. Then, the accused was studying a Diploma course in Kumbakonam. They fell in love. But, it did not long last. The deceased entertained doubt on his love. She avoided him.

(ii) On 09.12.2011, at about 5 p.m., in her house, the deceased attempted suicide by self-immolation. She was rushed to the Government Hospital, Kumbakonam. PW8, the casualty doctor admitted her as an inpatient (Ex.P6 Accident Register copy). On the next day, at about 7.30 p.m., she passed away in the hospital.

(iii). On 11.12.2011, at about 8 a.m. at Thiruneelkudi Police Station, PW1 lodged Ex.P.9 complaint with PW14, Sub-Inspector of Police. She registered a case of suspicious death under Section 174 Cr.P.C.(EX.P.10 is FIR).

(iv). PW14 took up her investigation. She visited the scene place. In the presence of PWs.6 and 7, she prepared Ex.P.11, Observation Mahazer. She drew Ex.P.12,rough sketch of the scene place. In the presence of said witnesses, she seized M.O.1 plastic cane under PW13 Seizure Mahazer.

(v) At the mortuary in the Government Hospital, Kumbakonam, in the presence of panchayatars, PW14 held inquest over the dead body of the deceased (Ex.P.14 inquest report). PW14 examined the witnesses and recorded their statement. At her request, PW9 conducted postmortem on the dead body of the deceased. Pw9 opined that the deceased died of burn injuries and complications there of. (Ex.P7 postmortem certificate). After postmortem, PW14 has handed over the dead body to the relatives to perform the last rites.

(vi). On 28.12.2011, PW1 handed over Ex.P.16-suicide letter of the deceased to Ex.P.14, with Ex.P.15 report. In the circumstances, PW14 handed over the case to PW15, then Inspector of Police, Thiruvidaimaruthur. He continued the investigation. Examined the contents of Ex.P.16. He altered the section of law to Section 306 IPC. Sent Ex.P.17, alteration report to the Court. PW1 produced note books containing writings and signatures of the deceased. PW15, sent them to the handwriting expert for comparison and report. PW12, Handwriting Expert compared them with Ex.P.16. He opined that both are written by one and the same person (Ex.P.8 report).

(vii). PW15 arrested the accused. Produced him before the Court for Judicial custody. He was remanded to judicial custody. Concluding his investigation, PW15 filed the final report before the Court for an offence under Section 306 IPC.

4. This case came to be tried by the learned Additional Sessions Judge, Mahalir Neethimandram, Thanjavur. Upon, hearing both side and on consideration of the case-records, the Trial court framed a charge under Section 306 IPC. The accused pleaded not guilty to the charge.

5. To substantiate the charge, prosecution examined PWs.1 to 15, marked Ex.P1 to P17 and exhibited M.O.1.

6. On the incriminating aspects in the prosecution evidence, when the accused was examined under Section 313 Cr.P.C., he denied his complicity in this case. He did not let in defence evidence.

7. Upon consideration of the said evidence, mainly relying upon Ex.P.16, suicide note, the Trial Court convicted and sentenced the accused as already stated.

8. According to the learned counsel for the appellant, Ex.P.16 is the work of police in connivance with PW1. The truth and genuineness of Ex.P.16 has not been established. PW3 herself has stated that out of compulsion, she wrote Ex.P.16 at the police station. Since the notebook stated to have been containing the handwritings of the deceased has not been produced in evidence, Ex.P.8, report of PW12, Handwriting Expert cannot be accepted.

9. The learned counsel for the appellant further contended that even taking the contents of Ex.P.16, as true, it would not warrant an offence under Section 306 IPC. Ex.P.16 would not show any positive act on the part of the appellant, forcing the deceased to commit suicide. There is complete absence of intention on the part of the accused provoking the deceased to commit suicide.

10. In this connection, the learned counsel for the appellant would cite

Mani vs. State rep. by the Inspector of Police, J-3 Guindy Police Station, Chennai, [2014 (3) MLJ (Crl)18].

11. On the other hand, the learned Government Advocate (Criminal Side) would submit that though PWs.1 to 3 have turned hostile, still there is scientific evidence of PW12, handwriting expert, showing that Ex.P.16 was in the handwriting of the deceased. The genuineness of Ex.P.16 has been clearly established. A reading of Ex.P.16 would show that the accused is the root cause for her committing suicide. He abetted her commission of suicide. In the circumstances, the Trial court has rightly convicted him and appropriately punished him.

12. I have anxiously considered the rival submissions, perused the Trial court’s judgment and also perused the entire materials on record and the decision cited.

13. The question is whether the prosecution has established the charge under Section 306 IPC, as against the appellant beyond all reasonable doubts.

14. The accused and the deceased were love birds. But, the love blossomed between them was short lived. The deceased did not believe his love. On 09.12.2011, in her house, the deceased attempted self-immolation. Out of extensive injuries, she breathed her last on the next day at the Government Hospital, Kumbakonam.

15. The prosecution says that the accused is responsible for her such extreme decision, he abetted her commission of suicide.

16. PWs.1 to 4, who are father, mother, sister and sister’s husband of the deceased did not support the prosecution version of the case. They said that the deceased was suffering out of stomach pain and unable to bear the pain, she had taken the extreme step.

17. Prosecution mainly relies on Ex.P.16, stated to be a suicide note left by the deceased implicating the accused for her extreme decision.

18. Ex.P.16 has been attacked by the defence on twin grounds, namely, its truth and genuineness, has not been established. Further, even, if it’s contents are taken as true, it will not warrant an offence under Section 306 IPC.

19. Section 306 I.P.C. runs as under: