The Kerala High Court on Tuesday set aside the charge framed by the Trial Court under Sections 498A, 302 and 306 of the Indian Penal Code and disposed of the Criminal Revision Petition filed by a man whose wife committed suicide.
The facts of the case is that one morning the petitioner’s wife was found hanging in his house. Though she was taken to hospital, she was declared dead. Initially, a case was registered for unnatural death under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. Later, the case was converted to one under Sections 498A and 306 IPC. After completing the investigation, the police filed charge-sheet against the petitioner for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 302 and 306 I.P.C. The trial court framed charge against the petitioner under those sections.
The petitioner approached the High Court through Revision Petition , challenging the charge framed against him by the Trial Court for an offence punishable under Section 302 IPC.
After hearing the submission from the Counsel for the petitioner and the Public Prosecutor, the Single-Judge Bench of Justice R . Narayana Pisharadi observed that the case diary contains materials to show that, soon before the deceased was found hanging, the petitioner had beaten her black and blue with a weapon. She had suffered internal bleeding. The autopsy report shows that her death was due to combined effect of constriction force on the neck and the blunt injury sustained to the chest. The doctor, who conducted the autopsy, gave a statement to the police that the injury sustained by the deceased in the chest independently would have caused her death.
The charge framed against the petitioner by the trial court cannot be sustained. Section 306 IPC states that, if any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished. Therefore, only when the death of a person is suicidal, a person can be charged with the offence of abetment of suicide punishable under Section 306 IPC, held the Court.
The Court said in the order,
“Death can be accidental, suicidal or homicidal. The offences punishable under Section 302 of IPC and Section 306 of IPC are mutually exclusive. The offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC presupposes commission of suicide. The offence punishable under Section 302 of IPC contemplates punishment for murder which presumes existence of intention on the part of the accused to kill the victim. Section 306 of the IPC envisages suicidal death and it undisputedly excludes homicidal death. Charges under both sections cannot co-exist. But, charge in the alternative can be framed against an accused for offences punishable under Sections 302 and 306 I.P.C.”
While setting aside the charge framed by the Trial Court, the Judge directed the Court of Session to consider the matter as fresh and frame charge against the accused / Petitioner for the offences, if any, disclosed by the materials produced by the prosecution.