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Supreme court on Friday upheld the Judgment passed by the Calcutta High Court wherein it was categorically held that addressing a female as ‘call girl’ is not sufficient enough to constitute the essential element of ‘abetment of Suicide’ through instigation and thereby cannot lead to a conviction under section 306 IPC.

The bench consisting of Justice Indu Malhotra and Justice R. Subhash Reddy upheld the order of High Court of Calcutta wherein the respondents were discharged off the charge framed against them under Section 306 read with Section 34 of Indian Penal Code under a reasoning that calling someone a ‘call-girl’ cannot be interpreted to be an act of instigating, goading or solicitation or insinuation for the purpose of section 306 IPC.

Background of the Case

The facts as allegedly stated  by the father of the victim (the complainant) provides that the respondent-boy(R1) had been called for by the complainant to train the victim in her English proficiency skills. During the course of such training, the victim and R1 had developed an intimate relationship and consequentially decided to get married. So as to finalise such promises made, the victim visited the house of R1, where R2 and R3 (parents of R1) shouted and addressed the victim as ‘call girl’. The next day itself the victim committed suicide by hanging herself.  An FIR was lodged and two suicide notes were found stating that R2 & R3 abused her in silly words by calling her a call-girl and also that father of R1 stigmatized her as a call-girl and first respondent has not responded to such utterances respectively and hence a charge sheet was filed under section 306 read with 34 of IPC.

DISTRICT AND SESSIONS COURT: An objection was raised by the Respondents in the District and Sessions court to get discharged alleging that there was no case made out against them, but the Judge overruled the objections of the respondents observing that as there is a probability of accused being convicted, charge can be framed and hence the charges were framed. Against it the respondents knocked the doors of High Court under section 482 Cr. P.C.

HIGH COURT: The High Court allowed the application of the Respondents and ordered their discharged. The order stated that:

terming a female as a call-girl, there was no utterance which can be interpreted to be an act of instigating, goading or solicitation or insinuation, the deceased to commit suicide. “

SUPREME COURT: The Apex court was thence approached against such discharge.

By considering the material placed on record, we are also of the view that the present case does not present any picture of abetment allegedly committed by respondents. The suicide committed by the victim cannot be said to be the result of any action on part of respondents nor can it be said that commission of suicide by the victim was the only course open to her due to action of the respondents. There was no goading or solicitation or insinuation by any of the respondents to the victim to commit suicide”, said the Apex Court.

It reiterated the judgment of Swamy Prahaladdas vs. State of M.P. and Anr., wherein it was held;

this Court while considering utterances like “to go and die” during the quarrel between husband and wife, uttered by husband held that utterances of such words are not direct cause for committing suicide. In such circumstances, in the aforesaid judgment this Court held that Sessions Judge erred in summoning the appellant to face the trial and quashed the proceedings.

The Apex court also referred to a land mark judgment of Ramesh Kumar vs. State of Chhattisgarh, wherein the court interpreted the word ‘instigation’  in context to Sections 306 and 107 IPC and held:

Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do “an act”. To satisfy the requirement of instigation though it is not necessary that actual words must be used to that effect or what constitutes instigation must necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of being spelt out. The present one is not a case where the accused had by his acts or omission or by a continued course of conduct created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide in which case an instigation may have been inferred. A word uttered in the fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow cannot be said to be instigation.”

— India Legal Bureau

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