Court Clarifies “Instigation” Under Section 306 of IPC, Acquits Accused in Landmark Case
Telangana High Court Division Bench, comprising Justice K Lakshman and Justice K Sujana, has clarified that “go and die” does not meet the legal “instigation” criteria under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
IN THEIR JUDGMENT, Justice K Lakshman and Justice K Sujana stated that the phrase “go and die” does not fulfil the legal definition of ‘instigation’ as outlined in Section 306 of the IPC. The Court observed that the term “instigate” implies incitement to undertake something drastic. Words spoken in the heat of a quarrel, without mens rea (criminal intent), cannot be considered instigation.
“A word uttered in a fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow cannot be said to be instigation. If it transpires to the Court that a victim committing suicide was hypersensitive to ordinary petulance, discord and differences in domestic life quite common to the society to which the victim belonged and such petulance, discord and differences were not expected to induce a similarly circumstanced individual in a given society to commit suicide, the conscience of the Court should not be satisfied for basing a finding that the accused charged for abetting the offence of suicide should be found guilty,” the Court’s judgement read.
“This Court is of the opinion that the evidence on record is not sufficient to convict the appellant/accused as the prosecution has failed to prove its case beyond the reasonable doubt,” the judgment read.
The 2009 case, titled: “Jangam Ravinder V. The State Of AP”, revolved around an appellant who had been convicted under multiple sections, including Section 306 (abetment of suicide) and Section 417 (cheating), as well as Section 3(2)(v) of the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. The appellant had been sentenced to life imprisonment by a sessions court.
The prosecution’s narrative was that the victim, belonging to the Scheduled Tribe community, had consumed pesticide after the appellant refused to marry her. This refusal came after a history of “sexual intimacy” between the two and an earlier incident where the appellant had allegedly attempted to rape the victim. The case had been settled when he expressed his willingness to marry her.
Section 306 of the IPC states: “If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”
- Section 306 of the IPC can lead to imprisonment for up to ten years.
- The Court cited at least three previous cases (Swamy Prahaladdas v. State of M.P., Mahendra Singh v. State of MP, and Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh) to support its verdict.