December 1, 2023
symbolizing the legal focus

Self-annihilation, often known as suicide, is a unique crime in which the victim and the accused are the same individual. The Indian Penal Code of 1860 contains regulations pertaining to this offense that regulate both punishment and the commission of future offenses.

The Indian Penal Code has Section 306 and Section 309 that address the penalties for attempting suicide and aiding and abetting suicide, respectively.

Abetment to Suicide Meaning

According to theabetment to suicide meaning, when the deceased has no other choice than to commit suicide, it is an active or direct act that pushes him in that direction. The conduct must also indicate the accused’s intention to put the deceased in such a scenario that he commits himself.

Section 306: Indian Penal Code

Section 306 of the IPCstates that encouraging someone else to commit suicide carries a maximum 10-year prison sentence in addition to a fine. It is illegal to aid and help in abetment to suicide attempt.

Anyone is considered to have assisted in an abetment to suicide attempt when:

  • He encourages someone to take their own life or
  • He is a participant in a plot to force someone to end their life or
  • He purposefully assists the victim in ending their life by acting or refraining from acting in a way that would have been required of him.

Section 309: Indian Penal Code

It states that anyone who makes an attempt at suicide and takes any action that could lead to the commission of this crime faces a maximum sentence of one year in simple imprisonment, a fine, or both.

Abetment to Suicide Ingredients

In the case of the State of Gujarat v Raval Shankerchand, the Gujarat High Court established the ingredients that make up an act of aiding and abetting suicide. The abetment to suicide ingredients is as follows:

  • There needs to be an abetment.
  • The act of abetment must be unlawful, or it must be an act that, if carried out by someone legally competent to do so with the same intent or knowledge as the abettor, would also be illegal.
  • The guilty mind, or Mens Rea.

Abetment to Suicide Case Laws

  • In the case of M. Mohan v State, the Apex Court ruled that there has to be a direct connection between the accused person’s actions and their suicide deed. It cannot be argued that the accused deliberately encouraged or assisted in the suicide if the relationship is absent. It is impossible to consider mild threats to involve the family in fictitious and pointless proceedings to be the same as instigation. Therefore, aiding and abetting is defined as actively proposing or supporting the conduct of an offense.
  • In the Daxaben v State of Gujarat case, the Honorable Supreme Court ruled that aiding and abetting suicide is an egregious, serious, and non-compoundable offense that cannot be remedied by a simple settlement.

A Suicide Note when used as “Evidence”

  • In essence, suicide notes are written by someone who purportedly takes their own life and describes why they did it.
  • They could be a crucial piece of evidence in support of Section 306 and Section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, which allege aiding and abetting suicide.
  • A suicide note may be handwritten, audio recorded, or presented as a video.
  • A suicide note may contain a request for forgiveness or allegations that the writer encouraged the suicide.

The Punjab-Haryana High Court held in the matter of Harbhajan Sandhu v State of Punjab that an individual is not guilty of aiding and abetting suicide only because their name appears in a suicide note. All of Section 306’s requirements must be met.

Abetment to Suicide: Exceptions

  • Proving the accused’s sincere conviction that their activities did not pose a threat to life.
  • Taking into account the accused’s mental state at that point, including any insanity or decreased capacity.
  • Demonstrating that there was no criminal intent or understanding of the victim’s thoughts of suicide.
  • Evidence that the person being charged was coerced or forced into aiding and abetting is known as coercion or duress.

Case Laws:

  • In the case of Reena v NCT of Delhi, according to the Delhi High Court, if the deceased person gave the impression of having a weak character and being unable to deal with life’s ups and downs, the accused cannot be found guilty of aiding and abetting suicide.
  • In the case of Mariano Anto Bruno v Inspector of Police, the Honorable Supreme Court ruled that there must be a definite Mens rea and a direct act of incitement or abetment that caused the deceased to commit suicide in order for an offense to qualify for being punished under the virtue of Section 306 of the IPC.

Suicide abetting is the act of encouraging, motivating, or supporting the victim during their suicide. It is determined that one of the worst and most serious crimes is abetment. Section 306 of the IPC permits the prosecution to establish a case of abetment of suicide only after all necessary elements have been met.

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