Supreme Court - To invoke Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, evidence of suicide is mandatory.
In the matter of Yaddanapudi Madhusudhana Rao v. The State of Andhra Pradesh & Ors. [Criminal Appeal No. 901 of 2017], the Appellant lodged a Criminal Appeal to challenge the High Court's decision declining the exercise of its jurisdiction under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (“CrPC”), to stay the ongoing legal proceedings against him. The complainant subsequently filed Criminal Appeal No. 902 of 2017, contesting the same impugned judgment and decision, which had suspended the proceedings in Criminal Case No. 2870 of 2010 concerning accused nos. 2 to 8. Additionally, the same complainant initiated Criminal Appeal No. 903 of 2017 against the defendant in response to the order dated 25.09.2013, wherein his 2013 petition for the reconsideration of the judgment dated 18.09.2012 (Crl. M.P. No. 2670 of 2013) was denied.
The Accused was charged under sections 417, 498(A), 306, 406, and 201 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (“IPC”). On December 8, 2002, the Appellant entered into matrimony with Madhavi. Subsequent to their marriage, both the Appellant and the deceased, Madhavi, immigrated to the United States of America and occasionally visited India. The departed Madhavi, who was depressed, occasionally sought treatment from a psychiatriast.
The Accused and the deceased both consulted LW25 one more the day before the incident, on April 11, 2009. The deceased passed away the following day at the de facto complainant's home. The cremation occurred on April 13, 2009.
The de facto Complainant, the deceased's father, who was also working as a sub-inspector of police at the time, made the aforementioned complaint against the appellant and the other defendants six days after the deceased's passing. In the contested ruling, the High Court struck down the cases against the other defendants while declining to apply its Section 482 of the CrPC jurisdiction against the Appellant. Thus, both the Appellant and the de facto Complainant come before Supreme Court.
According to the Supreme Court, in order to violate Section 306 of the IPC, there must be proof that suicide actually occurred.
A chargesheet was filed against the Defendant in this matter under Section 306 IPC. After his wife passed away, her father, who was at the time a Sub-Inspector of Police, filed a case against him, accusing him of aiding suicide. The High Court rejected his petition, which asked for the FIR to be overturned.
The Supreme Court noted that the accused was not on good terms with the deceased wife and that the actual fact of her suicide had not been proven and stated "The de facto complainant being a police officer himself has not given a compliant promptly after the death. On the contrary, he himself performed the cremation the next day, and gave the complaint on 18.04.2009. Statement of LW13 has to be understood on the attending circumstances. The statement given by LW3 also has no value and substance. It is rather strange that the de facto complainant and his family were not aware of any of the facts alleged till such time, especially when the deceased and the accused were visiting them frequently, and the occurrence took place in the de facto complainant’s house.".
While granting the appeal, the Court said that because there is insufficient significant evidence to meet the requirements of Section 306 IPC, continuing the trial would undoubtedly be detrimental to the appellant. Furthermore, the Court stated, "To attract the ingredients of Section 306 IPC, there must be evidence to substantiate the existence of suicide. It should be followed by abetment, as required under Section 107 of the IPC. In as much as we do not find any merit in evidence to support the case of the prosecution that there was a suicide, thereby the statement recorded from LW25 itself shows that the deceased was ailing and therefore, not keeping in good health.".