Sunday, November 27, 2022

Punjab and Haryana High Court dismisses plea of woman named in suicide note

The facts of the case are that one Joravar son of Indraj, resident of Mamaria Ahir had committed suicide on June 10, 2020. He had left behind a suicide note in which he had blamed the petitioner Sudha @ Babli and her husband Yaspal for driving him to commit suicide.

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The Punjab and Haryana High Court has said that if a person is dying by suicide and has named some people as responsible for their decision, such a statement should be taken up with all seriousness.

A Single-Judge Bench of Justice H. S. Madaan passed this order, while hearing a pre-arrest petition filed by Sudha alias Babli under Section 438 CrPC. The 37-year-old resident of village Mamaria Asampur, Tehsil & District Rewari is an accused in FIR dated June 11, 2020, under Sections 306/34 IPC (Section 506 IPC added later on), registered with Police Station Khol, District Rewari.

The facts of the case are that one Joravar, son of Indraj, resident of Mamaria Ahir had committed suicide on June 10, 2020. He had left behind a suicide note in which he had blamed the petitioner Sudha @ Babli and her husband Yaspal for driving him to commit suicide.

On the matter being reported to the police by the son of the deceased, namely, Deepak, a formal FIR was recorded. Apprehending her arrest in the case, the petitioner had approached the Court of Sessions at Rewari by filing an application seeking grant of pre-arrest bail. However, her application had been dismissed by Sessions Judge, Rewari vide detailed order dated June 28, 2021.

Counsel for the Petitioner submitted that offence under Sections 306 or 506 IPC is not made out against the Petitioner since no abetment on her part to the suicide committed by the deceased is made out.

The Court observed that the Petitioner had never harassed the deceased, rather there was a dispute regarding some payment between them. The deceased had served a legal notice dated May 22, 2020 upon the Petitioner for making the payment; the Petitioner is a married woman having small children to look after; no recovery is to be effected from her; she is ready and willing to join the investigation, therefore, she be granted concession of pre-arrest bail.

This prayer is being opposed vehemently by State Counsel and Counsel representing the complainant stating that the Petitioner is specifically named in the suicide note; on account of the acts of the Petitioner, the deceased was compelled to end his life by committing suicide. The custodial interrogation of the Petitioner is necessary for unfolding the entire story. Under the circumstances, the Petition is bound to fail.

 The Court noted that,

A perusal of such suicide note goes to show that the deceased has specifically mentioned therein that Petitioner had contacted him in the year 2018 and asked him to lend money for the purpose of construction of her house and he after selling the crops gave cash amount of Rs 11,50,000/- to her; however, when he asked Sudha @ Babli and her husband to return money, they put off the matter and ultimately threatened him; in February, 2020 in the evening when he had gone to their house, then Sudha @ Babli had caught him by collar of his shirt threatening that she would get him killed by Sanjay, son of Jaswant.

The Court said that the Petitioner being specifically named in the suicide note and incriminating acts attributed to her, it is not open for the Petitioner to come up with a plea that offence of abetment to suicide is not made out against her. The suicide note was got examined by the investigating agency and as per the expert opinion, the writing was in hand of the deceased. For a human being life is a very precious thing. Human beings are in awe of death and want to lead a long life. The people are fearful of death. The desire to live more by even old people is there. It is under very compelling circumstances that one ends his own life and while doing so, if the person committing suicide named some other person being responsible to force him to take the extreme step, his such statement is required to be taken up with all the seriousness. Why should a person leaving this mortal world by ending his life himself would blame an innocent person holding him responsible for his death, is difficult to understand.

The argument advanced by Counsel for the Petitioner that there was a dispute regarding payment between her and deceased etc. and no abatement on her part is made out are the aspects, which would be looked into by the trial Court, while determining the guilt of the accused.

Counsel said that the Court while determining the entitlement of Petitioner for grant of anticipatory bail is not to conduct a deep probe in the matter touching merits of the case since it is duty of the trial Court to do so. This Court is to examine the prosecution version primarily.

Counsel further said that the pre arrest bail is a discretionary relief and is to be granted in exceptional cases and not in routine. It is meant to save the innocent persons from harassment and inconvenience and not to screen the culprits from arrest and custodial interrogation.

“The custodial interrogation of the Petitioner is necessary for complete and effective investigation so as to find out as to how and under what circumstances she had abetted the suicide of the deceased. In case custodial interrogation of the Petitioners is denied to the investigating agency that would leave many loose ends and gaps in the investigation affecting the investigation being carried out adversely, which is not called for.

In the case of the State represented by the C.B.I. Versus Anil Sharma, 1997(4) R.C.R.(Criminal) 268, Apex Court had observed that custodial interrogation is qualitatively more elicitation orientated than questioning a suspect who is on anticipatory bail, in a case like this interrogation of suspected person is of tremendous advantage in getting useful informations”, the order reads.

Therefore, the Court opined that the facts and circumstances of the case do not call for acceptance of the Petition. The same is doomed for failure and is dismissed accordingly.

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