It would have to be objectively seen whether the allegations made could reasonably be viewed as proper allegations against the appellant/accused to the effect that he had intended or engineered the suicide of the concerned person by his acts, words etc.
|Case name:||Madan Mohan Singh V/s State of Gujarat & Anr.|
|Case number:||CRLMP NO. 12749 OF 2008|
|Court:||The Supreme Court Of India|
|Bench:||J, V.S. Sirpurkar J, Cyriac Joseph|
|Decided on:||August 17, 2010|
|Relevant Act/Sections:||Section 306 and 294(b) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Section 482 Cr.P.C|
- BRIEF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY:
- Harshida Ben, widow of Deepakbhai Krishnalal Joshi was married to Deepakbhai Krishnalal Joshi serving in Ahmedabad Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd. as a driver in the Microwave Project Department.
- She further stated that the appellant, Madan Mohan Singh was working as a D.E.T. and her husband who was driving a Tata Sumo car was working under Madan Mohan Singh
- (accused herein). She then complained that Madan Mohan Singh used to tell his private errands to her husband and was harassing him. Though Madan Mohan Singh was transferred, yet he kept on continuously using her husband. In the year 2007, Madam Mohan Singh came back on transfer in the Microwave Project as D.E.T.
- It is alleged that on the day when Madan Mohan Singh joined, he told her husband to keep the keys of the vehicle on the table. However, according to her, her husband did not listen to that and took back the key on account of which Madan Mohan Singh had become angry and had threatened her husband of suspending him. He also rebuked her husband that if he did not listen to him, he would create difficulties for her husband. Madan Mohan Singh said to her husband as how he is still alive inspite of the insults.
- It is then contended that on 21.2.2008, her husband left at 10’O Clock as per rules with tiffin but did not return back in the evening and, therefore, his search was taken by his son Jatin from his colleagues like Raji Saheb and his absence was reported to the police on 22.2.2008 and 23.2.2008. Ultimately, she came to know that her husband’s body was lying in the dead condition in the vehicle No. GJ 1 G 3472 at Kiran Park opposite Gayatri Hospital, New Vadaj. She also suggested further that a telephone call had come from Gujarat High Court informing her that there was a Xerox copy of the suicide note.
- Lastly, it is stated that during the period between 2003 to 21.2.2008 the Head of the department D.E.T. Project was entrusting his house work to her husband but her husband had not done the work entrusted to him and, therefore, he had bias against her husband and insulted him in front of the staff several times and because of this her husband got depressed and committed suicide.
- This First Information Report was filed and registered on 17.3.2008 i.e. after the 24 days of the death of her husband. It is this report which is challenged suggesting that even if the whole report is accepted as it is, it did not disclose any offence much less the offences under Sections 306 and 294, IPC. Since, the Gujarat High Court did not agree and dismissed the petition; the appellant is before us now.
- ISSUE BEFORE THE COURT:
- Whether the appellant guilty under article 306 owing to FIR and suicide note?
- RATIO OF THE COURT
- The court went through the through the suicide note though it is not yet on record. Shri Tulsi pointed out that even if this suicide note is accepted as it is, along with the FIR, no ingredients of Sections 306 and 294 (b), IPC could be spelt out from the same. The court scrutinized the whole FIR as well as the so-called suicide note which seems to have been signed on 4.2.2008 wherein he had complained about the stale incidents dated 15.10.2007 to 19.10.2007. It seems that it is 17 days after that, that he was found dead 23.2.2008.
- Shri Tulsi contended that all this is absolutely absurd. If a person writes a suicide note on 4.2.2008, he had no business to send the suicide note to High Court and keep a copy thereof in the house. Learned Senior Counsel said that even if all this is accepted as it is, there is nothing to suggest that the appellant has committed any offence or that any offence could be spelt out from the said suicide note or the FIR much less offence under Sections 306 and 294, IPC.
- The court was therefore convinced that there is absolutely nothing in this suicide note or the FIR which would even distantly be viewed as an offence much less under Section 306, IPC. In such matters there must be an allegation that the accused had instigated the deceased to commit suicide or secondly, had engaged with some other person in a conspiracy and lastly, that the accused had in any way aided any act or illegal omission to bring about the suicide.
- In the so-called suicide note, it cannot be said that the accused ever intended that the driver under him should commit suicide or should end his life and did anything in that behalf. Even if it is accepted that the accused changed the duty of the driver or that the accused asked him not to take the keys of the car and to keep the keys of the car in the office itself, it does not mean that the accused intended or knew that the driver should commit suicide because of this.
- The intention of the accused to aid or to instigate or to abet the deceased to commit suicide is a must for this particular offence under Section 306, IPC. The court was of clear opinion that there is no question of there being any material for offence under Section 306, IPC either in the FIR or in the so-called suicide note.
- The court observed that it is absurd to even think that a superior officer like the appellant would intend to bring about suicide of his driver and, therefore, abet the offence. In fact, there is no nexus between the so called suicide (if at all it is one for which also there is no material on record) and any of the alleged acts on the part of the appellant. There is no proximity either.
- The court held that The Courts have to be extremely careful as the main person is not available for cross examination by the appellant/accused. Unless, therefore, there is specific allegation and material of definite nature (not imaginary or inferential one), it would be hazardous to ask the appellant/accused to face the trial. A criminal trial is not exactly a pleasant experience. The person like the appellant in present case who is serving in a responsible post would certainly suffer great prejudice, were he to face prosecution on absurd allegations of irrelevant nature.
- It is trite law now that where there is some material alleged in the FIR, then such FIR and the ensuing proceedings should not be quashed under Section 482 Cr.P.C. It is for this reason that we very closely examined the FIR to see whether it amounts to a proper complaint for the offence under Sections 306 and 294(b) IPC. Insofar as Section 294(b) IPC is concerned, we could not find a single word in the FIR or even in the so-called suicide note.
- The court clarified that it would have to be objectively seen whether the allegations made could reasonably be viewed as proper allegations against the appellant/accused to the effect that he had intended or engineered the suicide of the concerned person by his acts, words etc. When we put the present FIR on this test, it falls short.
- DECISION HELD BY COURT:
- The court finally held that the High Court erred in not quashing the proceedings.
- Allowing this appeal, the court set aside the order of the High Court and allowing the petition under Section 482 Cr.P.C. filed by the appellant/accused, the questioned proceedings are quashed.