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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Section 306 refers to abetment of suicide. It says that if any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years and shall also be liable to fine. = Suicide note completely exonerates A-1, which states that he was not responsible for death of the deceased. On the other hand, the deceased described herself as extremely selfish, egoist and, therefore, not a match for A-1. She entertained the belief that her husband A-1 was in love with A-2 and wanted to marry A-2. Note states it was for their happiness she had decided to end her life. She also wanted to have the marriage of A-1 and A-2 solemnized with pomp and gaiety. On reading the suicide note, one can infer that the deceased was so possessive of her husband, and was always under an emotional stress that she might lose her husband. Too much of possessiveness could also lead to serious emotional stress, over and above the fact that she had one abortion and her daughter died after few days of birth. No evidence is forthcoming in this case to show that A-2 ever evinced any interest to marry A-1. On the other hand, during the subsistence of the alleged relationship, A-2 herself got married. 29. We are, therefore, of the considered view that the relationship A-1 had with A-2 was not of such a nature which under normal circumstances would drive one to commit suicide or that A-1 by his conduct or otherwise ever abetted or intended to abet the wife to commit suicide. Courts below, in our view, have committed serious error in holding that it was due to the extra marital relationship A-1 had with A-2 that led the deceased to take the extreme step to commit suicide, and A-1 was instrumental for the said act. In the circumstances, we are inclined to allow this appeal and set aside the order of conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant, and he is set at liberty. Ordered as above.

                     published in    http://judis.nic.in/supremecourt/imgst.aspx?filename=40742                                     
   REPORTABLE


                        IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA

                      CRIMINAL APPEALLATE JURISDICTION

                       CRIMINAL APPEAL NO.811 OF 2004

Pinakin Mahipatray Rawal                     Appellant

                                   Versus

State of Gujarat                             Respondent



                               J U D G M E N T


K.S. RADHAKRISHNAN, J.

1.    We are in this case concerned with the  question  as  to  whether  the
relationship between A-1  and  A-2  was  extra-marital  leading  to  cruelty
within the meaning of  Section  498A  IPC  and  also  amounted  to  abetment
leading to the act of suicide within the meaning of Section 306 IPC.

2.    A-1, the first accused, along with A-2 and  A-3,  were  charge-sheeted
for the offences punishable under Sections 498A, 304-B  and  306  IPC.   The
Sessions Court convicted A-1 for the offence punishable under  Section  498A
IPC and sentenced him to suffer RI for three years and  to  pay  a  fine  of
Rs.5,000/- and in default to undergo further RI  for  six  months.  A-1  was
also convicted for offence punishable under Section 306  IPC  and  sentenced
to suffer RI for 10 years and to pay a fine of Rs.5,000/- and in default  to
undergo further RI for six months.  A-2 and A-3, the  mother  of  A-1  were,
however, acquitted of the various offences alleged against them.  The  trial
Court also acquitted A-1 of the offence charged against  him  under  Section
304-B  IPC.   On  appeal  by  A-1,  the  High  Court  though  confirmed  the
conviction, modified the sentence under Section 498A IPC to  two  years’  RI
and a fine of Rs.2,500/- and in  default  to  undergo  further  RI  for  six
months, and for the offence under Section 306 IPC, the sentence was  reduced
to RI for five years and to pay a fine  of  Rs.5,000/-  and  in  default  to
undergo RI for one year.  It  was  ordered  that  the  sentences  would  run
concurrently.  Aggrieved by the judgment of the High Court, this appeal  has
been preferred by A-1.

3.    Shri Sanjay  Visen,  learned  counsel  appearing  for  the  Appellant,
submitted that the allegations raised against the accused in respect of  the
alleged extra-marital relationship with second accused would not  constitute
an offence under Section 498A IPC.  Learned counsel also submitted that  the
suicidal death of the deceased was not a direct result of the alleged extra-
marital relationship and would not constitute an  offence  punishable  under
Section 306 IPC.  Learned counsel also submitted  that  even  assuming  that
the Appellant was maintaining extra-marital  relationship  with  the  second
accused, there is no mens rea proved to  show  that  such  relationship  was
maintained by the accused with an intention to drive the deceased to  commit
suicide.  Placing reliance upon the  suicide  note  Ex.44,  learned  counsel
submitted that the deceased did not allege any cruelty or harassment on  the
part of the accused which led  the  deceased  to  commit  suicide.   Learned
counsel submitted that in any view,  the  conduct  of  the  accused  or  the
alleged relationship he had with A-2 was not of such  a  degree  that  would
incite/provoke or push the deceased to a  depressed  situation  to  end  her
life.

4.    Mrs. Sumita Hazarika, learned counsel appearing for the State, on  the
other hand submitted that extra-marital relationship between the  first  and
second accused was of such a degree to disturb the  mental  balance  of  the
deceased, which amounted to cruelty within the explanation to  Section  498A
IPC.  Referring to various letters written by the deceased  to  her  father,
learned counsel pointed out that those  letters  would  clearly  depict  the
trauma undergone by her, which  ultimately  drove  her  to  commit  suicide.
Learned counsel also referred to the latter part of  the  suicide  note  and
submitted that the same would indicate that A-1 and A-2  were  in  love  and
that A-1 wanted to marry A-2  and  it  was  for  their  happiness  that  the
deceased committed suicide.   Learned  counsel  submitted  that  the  Courts
below have correctly appreciated the documentary as well  as  oral  evidence
of this case, which calls for no interference by this Court.

5.    We may before  examining  the  various  legal  issues  refer  to  some
relevant facts.  A-1 married the deceased in the year -1989 and was  leading
a happy married life.  A-1 while working as a  Field  Officer  in  the  Life
Insurance Corporation of India came into contact  with  A-2,  who  was  then
unmarried and a colleague, working with him  in  the  Corporation.  Official
relationship and contacts developed into an  intimacy,  which  according  to
the  prosecution,  was  “extra  marital”.  Due   to   this   extra   marital
relationship, the  deceased,  the  wife  of  A-1,  developed  a  feeling  of
alienation, loss of companionship,  etc.,  which  ultimately  drove  her  to
commit suicide on 18.3.1996 by leaping out of the terrace of a flat  leaving
a suicide note Ex.44.

6.    Prosecution in order to establish its case examined altogether  eleven
witnesses and produced twenty two documents.  Prosecution, however, was  not
successful in proving that A-1 or A-3 had  caused  any  physical  or  mental
harassment to the deceased demanding dowry.  A-3, the  mother  of  A-1,  was
acquitted of the charge and no evidence whatsoever was adduced to show  that
A-1 had also caused any harassment physically or mentally  demanding  dowry.

Prosecution story entirely rests on the nature of relationship A-1 had  with
A-2.

7.     The  prosecution  in  order  to  prove  the  relationship  as  “extra
marital”, made reference to few letters exchanged between the  deceased  and
her father.  Ex.27 is letter of the deceased  written  on  2.7.1993  to  her
father informing him about the relationship A-1 had  with  A-2,  which  also
disclosed that the father of A-1 had gone to  the  house  of  A-2  twice  to
persuade A-2 to withdraw from that relationship and advised  early  marriage
for A-2. Ex.28 is another letter dated 5.7.1993, addressed by  the  deceased
to her father, wherein she had stated that she had also gone  to  the  house
of A-2 and told her that she was prepared to part with her husband  A-1  and
that A-2 had told  her  that  deceased  had  blindly  placed  faith  on  her
husband.    Prosecution  also  made  reference  to   Ex.29,   letter   dated
26.7.1993, wherein the deceased had again made a complaint to her father  of
the continued relationship of A-1 and A-2.   Ex.30  is  yet  another  letter
dated 6.8.1993 written by the deceased again to  her  parents,  wherein  she
had indicated that even her father-in-law was fed up with the attitude of A-
1 and that often he used to come to the house late in the night.   Reference
was made to another letter Ex.31 dated 17.8.1993 written by the deceased  to
her parents wherein also she had made grievance against the behavior of  A-1
and the steps taken by the father-in-law to mend the ways  of  A-1.   Letter
also indicated that A-1 had made a suggestion to include A-2 also  in  their
life, which she opposed.

8.    Prosecution stand is that the above mentioned letters  would  disclose
the feelings and sufferings of an unfortunate wife having come  to  know  of
the love affair between  her  husband  A-1  and  his  colleague  A-2,  which
ultimately led her to commit the act of suicide.  Further, it  is  also  the
stand of the prosecution that  the  deceased  died  within  seven  years  of
marriage and hence under Section 113A of the Evidence  Act,  the  Court  can
presume, having regard to all other circumstances of  the  case,  that  such
suicide had been abetted by the husband.

9.    We have to examine the question as to whether A-1  is  guilty  or  not
under Section 498A and Section 306 IPC, in the light of the  fact  that  A-2
was already found not guilty of  the  charges  levelled  against  her  under
Sections 498A, 306 and 304-B read with Section 114 IPC.  Further, the  Court
has recorded a clear finding  that  the  prosecution  could  not  prove  any
immoral or illegal  relationship  between  A-1  and  A-2  or  that  A-1  had
tortured mentally or physically his wife demanding  dowry.   Further,  there
is also a clear finding of the trial Court that A-2 had not  contributed  or
caused any mental harassment to the deceased so as to drive  her  to  commit
the act of suicide.  Further, the  facts  would  disclose  that  during  the
period of  alleged  intimacy  between  A-1  and  A-2,  A-2  got  married  in
November, 1993.  Prosecution story is that the intimacy between A-1 and  A-2
developed  years  prior  to  that  and,  of  course,  if  the  intimacy   or
relationship between A-1 and A-2 was so strong, then A-2 would not have  got
married in November,  1993.   During  the  period  of  alleged  relationship
between A-1 and A-2,  it  is  pertinent  to  note  that  the  deceased   got
pregnant twice, once in the year 1992,  which  was  aborted,  and  the  year
following when the wife delivered a baby girl, which unfortunately died  two
days after her birth.  Prosecution has not alleged any hand  or  involvement
on the part of A-1 on such abortion.  Facts indicate that both A-1  and  the
deceased were staying under the same roof and that A-1 was  discharging  his
marital obligations and was leading a normal married life.

10.   A-1 had not caused any physical or mental  torture  on  the  deceased,
but for the alleged relationship  between  A-1  and  A-2.   Parents  of  the
deceased also did not make any allegation against A-1  of  ill-treatment  of
wife or of dowry demand.  Possibly, he might have caught up in  a  one-sided
love affair with some liking towards A-2.  Can it be branded as  an  “extra-
marital affair” of that degree to  fall  within  the  expression  “cruelty”?
Extra-marital affair is a term which has not  been  defined  in  the  Indian
Penal Code and rightly not ventured since to give a clear definition of  the
term is difficult, as the situation may change from case to case.


ALIENATION OF AFFECTION

11.   We are not prepared to say that there was  any  willful  or  malicious
interference by  A-2  in  the  marital  relationship  between  A-1  and  the
deceased.   A-2, it has not been proved, had in any way caused any  kind  of
mental harassment by maintaining any relationship with A-1 so  as  to  cause
any emotional distress on the deceased.  No evidence  had  been  adduced  or
proved to show that A-2 had alienated A-1, the husband  from  the  deceased.
Further, no evidence had been adduced to  show  that  due  to  the  wrongful
conduct of A-2,  the  deceased  had  lost  companionship,  affection,  love,
sexual relationship.  No evidence has been adduced to show  that  there  has
been any attempt on the part of A-2  to  disrupt  the  marital  relationship
between A-1 and the deceased.

12.   Alienation of affection by a stranger, if proved,  is  an  intentional
tort i.e. interference in the marital relationship with intent  to  alienate
one spouse from the other.  Alienation  of  affection  is  known  as  “Heart
Balm” action.   Anglo-Saxon common law on alienation of  affection  has  not
much roots in this country, the law is still in its nascent stage.    Anglo-
Saxon based action against third  parties  involving  tortuous  interference
with the marital relationship was mainly compensatory in  nature  which  was
earlier available to the husband, but, of late, a wife could also  lay  such
a claim complaining of alienation of affection.   The object is to  preserve
marital harmony by deterring wrongful  interference,  thereby  to  save  the
institution of marriage.  Both the spouses have a valuable interest  in  the
married  relationship,  including  its  intimacy,  companionship,   support,
duties, affection, welfare of children etc.

13.   We notice, in this country, if the marital  relationship  is  strained
and if the wife lives separately due to valid reasons, the wife  can  lay  a
claim only for maintenance against the husband  and  if  a  third  party  is
instrumental  for  disrupting  her  marriage,  by  alienating  her  spouse’s
affection, companionship, including marital  obligations,  seldom,  we  find
the disgusted spouse proceeds against  the  intruder  into  her  matrimonial
home.  Possibly, in a given case, she could question the extent,  that  such
injuries can be adequately  compensated,  by  a  monetary  award.   Such  an
action, of course, may not protect a marriage, but it compensates those  who
have been harmed.

14.   We are, however, of the view that  for  a  successful  prosecution  of
such  an  action  for  alienation  of  affection,  the   loss   of   marital
relationship, companionship, assistance, loss of consortium,  etc.  as  such
may not be sufficient, but there must  be  clear  evidence  to  show  active
participation, initiation or encouragement on the  part  of  a  third  party
that he/she must have played a substantial part in inducing or  causing  one
spouse’s loss of other spouse’s affection.  Mere acts,  association,  liking
as such do not become tortuous.  Few countries and  several  States  in  the
United States of America have passed  legislation  against  bringing  in  an
action for alienation of affection, due to various  reasons,  including  the
difficulties experienced in assessing the monetary damages  and  few  States
have also abolished “criminal conversation” action as well.

15.   We may, however, indicate  that  few  States  and  countries  strongly
support such an action, with the object of maintaining  and  preserving  the
marriage as a sacred institution.  Strong support comes from  the  State  of
Mississippi in the United States.  In Knight Vs. Woodfield  50  So.  3d  995
(Miss. 2011), the husband filed a suit  for  alienation  against  his  wife.
The wife alleged paramour after gaining  access  to  a  phone  call.   Facts
disclosed they had exchanged 930 text  messages  and  talked  more  than  16
hours in two months. In that case jurisdictional  issues  were  raised,  but
Court reaffirmed that law of alienation of affection is  firmly  established
in State of Mississippi.  Another  case  of  some  importance  is  Dare  Vs.
Stokes, 62  So,  3d  858  (Miss.  2011),  where  in  a  property  settlement
agreement of divorced couple, a provision was made that  the  husband  would
not bring suit  against  any  other  person  for  alienation  of  affection.
Agreement was reduced to a final order by the trial  Court.   Later  husband
came to know that his wife had a love affair with one Dare and hence  sought
for a modification of the agreement.  He also sent a notice to Dare as  well
of his intention to  file  a  suit  for  alienation  of  affection.   Dare’s
attempt to intervene and oppose the  application  for  modification  of  the
agreement was not favourably considered by the Court on the ground  that  he
cannot middle with the marital relationship.

16.   Action for alienation of affection lies for  all  improper  intrusions
or assaults  on  the  marriage  relationship  by  another,  whether  or  not
associated with “extramarital  sex”,  his  or  her  continued  overtures  or
sexual liaisons can be construed as something akin to an assumption of  risk
that his/her conduct will injure the marriage and give rise  to  an  action.
But all the same, a person is not liable for  alienation  of  affection  for
merely becoming a passive object of affection.  The  liability  arises  only
if there is any active participation, initiation  or  encouragement  on  the
part of the defendant.  Acts which lead to the loss  of  affection  must  be
wrongful, intentional, calculated to entice  the  affection  of  one  spouse
away  from   the   other,  in  order  to  support  a  cause  of  action  for
alienation  of  affection.   For  proving   a   claim   for   alienation  of
affection  it  is  not  necessary  for  a  party  to  prove  an   adulterous
relationship.

17.   We have on facts found that A-2 has not intruded into the family  life
of A-1 and his deceased wife, and the Court on  evidence  acquitted  A-2  of
all the charges levelled against her.  Consequently, it cannot be said  that
A-2 had in any way contributed or abetted the  deceased  in  committing  the
act of suicide, or had attempted to alienate the affection  of  A-1  towards
his deceased wife.  If  that  be  so,  we  have  to  examine  what  type  of
relationship A-1 had  with  A-2.   Can  it  be  said  as  an  “extra-marital
relationship” of such a degree which amounted to  “cruelty”  falling  within
the explanation to Section  498A  and  also  leading  to  an  offence  under
Section 306 IPC.

EXTRA-MARITAL RELATIONSHIP
18.   Marital relationship means the legally protected marital  interest  of
one spouse to another which  include  marital  obligation  to  another  like
companionship,  living  under  the  same  roof,  sexual  relation  and   the
exclusive enjoyment of them, to have children, their  up-bringing,  services
in the home, support, affection, love,  liking  and  so  on.   Extra-marital
relationship as such is not defined in the IPC.  Though,  according  to  the
prosecution in this case, it was that relationship which ultimately  led  to
mental harassment and cruelty within the explanation to Section 498-
A and that A-1 had abetted the wife to commit suicide.  We have  to  examine
whether the relationship between A-1 and A-2 amounted to  mental  harassment
and cruelty.

19.   We have to examine  the  correctness  or  otherwise  of  the  findings
recorded by the trial Court, affirmed by the High Court, as to  whether  the
alleged relationship between A-1 and A-2 has in any way constituted  cruelty
within the meaning of explanation to Section 498A IPC.  The  facts  in  this
case have clearly proved that the A-1  has  not  ill-treated  the  deceased,
either physically or mentally demanding dowry and was living  with  A-1,  in
the  matrimonial  home  till  the  date,  she  committed  suicide.   Cruelty
includes both physical and mental cruelty for the purpose of  Section  498A.
Section 498A IPC reads as under :-


      “498A. Husband or relative of husband of a woman  subjecting  her  to
      cruelty.-- Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the  husband
      of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty  shall  be  punished  with
      imprisonment for a term which may extend to  three  years  and  shall
      also be liable to fine.


      Explanation.- For the purposes of this section," cruelty" means-



      (a) any wilful conduct which is of such a  nature  as  is  likely  to
      drive the woman to commit suicide or to cause grave injury or  danger
      to life, limb or health (whether mental or physical) of the woman; or



      (b) harassment of the woman where such harassment is with a  view  to
      coercing her or any person related to her to meet any unlawful demand
      for any property or valuable security or is on account of failure  by
      her or any person related to her to meet such demand.



20.   This Court in Girdhar Shankar Tawade Vs. State of Maharashtra,  (2002)
5 SCC 177, examined the scope of the explanation and held as follows :-

      “3. The basic purport of the statutory provision is to avoid “cruelty”
      which stands defined  by  attributing  a  specific  statutory  meaning
      attached thereto as noticed hereinbefore. Two specific instances  have
      been taken note of in order to ascribe a meaning to the word “cruelty”
      as is expressed by the legislatures: whereas Explanation (a)  involves
      three specific situations viz.  (i)  to  drive  the  woman  to  commit
      suicide or (ii) to cause grave injury or (iii) danger to life, limb or
      health, both mental and -
      physical, and thus  involving  a  physical  torture  or  atrocity,  in
      Explanation  (b)  there  is  absence  of  physical  injury   but   the
      legislature thought it fit to include only coercive  harassment  which
      obviously as the legislative intent expressed is  equally  heinous  to
      match the physical injury: whereas one is patent,  the  other  one  is
      latent but equally serious in terms of the provisions of  the  statute
      since the same would also embrace the attributes of “cruelty” in terms
      of Section 498A.”



21.   In Gananath Pattnaik Vs. State of  Orissa,  (2002)  2  SCC  619,  this
Court held that the concept of  cruelty  under  Section  498A  IPC  and  its
effect under Section 306 IPC  varies  from  individual  to  individual  also
depending upon the social and economic status to which such person  belongs.
This Court held that cruelty  for  the  purpose  of  offence  and  the  said
Section need not be physical.  Even mental torture or abnormal behavior  may
amount to cruelty or harassment in a given case.

22.   We are of the view that the mere fact that the husband  has  developed
some intimacy with another, during the subsistence of  marriage  and  failed
to  discharge  his  marital  obligations,  as  such  would  not  amount   to
“cruelty”, but it must be of such a nature as is likely to drive the  spouse
to commit suicide to fall  within  the  explanation  to  Section  498A  IPC.
Harassment, of course, need not be in the form of physical assault and  even
mental harassment also would come within the purview of  Section  498A  IPC.
Mental cruelty, of course, varies from person to person, depending upon  the
intensity and the degree of endurance, some may meet with courage  and  some
others suffer in silence, to some it may be unbearable  and  a  weak  person
may think of ending one’s life.  We, on facts, found that the alleged  extra
marital relationship was not of such a  nature  as  to  drive  the  wife  to
commit suicide or that A-1 had ever intended  or  acted  in  such  a  manner
which under normal circumstances, would drive the wife to commit suicide.

23.   We also notice in this case that the  wife  committed  suicide  within
seven years of the  date  of  the  marriage.   Hence,  a  presumption  under
Section 113A of the Evidence Act could be drawn.

24.     Section  113A  which  was  inserted  by  the  Criminal  Law  (Second
Amendment) Act, 1983, w.e.f. 26.12.1983, is given below for  easy  reference
:-
    “113A.  Presumption as to abetment of suicide by a married woman.- When
    the question is whether the commission of suicide by a woman  had  been
    abetted by her husband or any relative of her husband and it  is  shown
    that she had committed suicide within a period of seven years from  the
    date of her marriage and that her  husband  or  such  relative  of  her
    husband had subjected her to cruelty, the  court  may  presume,  having
    regard to all the other circumstances of the case,  that  such  suicide
    had been abetted by her husband or by such relative of her husband.


    Explanation.-- For the purposes of this section, "cruelty"  shall  have
    the same meaning as in section 498A of the Indian  Penal  Code  (45  of
    1860 ).


25.   Section 113A only deals with a presumption which the Court  may  draw
in a particular fact situation which may arise when  necessary  ingredients
in order to attract that provision are established.  Criminal law amendment
and the rule of procedure was   necessitated  so  as  to  meet  the  social
challenge of saving the married woman from being ill-treated or forcing  to
commit  suicide  by  the  husband  or  his  relatives,   demanding   dowry.
Legislative mandate of the Section is that when  a  woman  commits  suicide
within seven years of her marriage and it is shown that her husband or  any
relative of her husband had subjected her  to  cruelty  as  per  the  terms
defined in Section 498A IPC, the Court may presume  having  regard  to  all
other circumstances of the case that such suicide has been abetted  by  the
husband or such person.  Though a presumption could be drawn, the burden of
proof of showing that such an offence has been  committed  by  the  accused
under Section 498A IPC is on the prosecution.  On facts,  we  have  already
found that the prosecution has not  discharged  the  burden  that  A-1  had
instigated, conspired or intentionally aided so as to  drive  the  wife  to
commit suicide or that the alleged extra  marital  affair  was  of  such  a
degree which was likely to drive the wife to commit suicide.

26.   Section 306 refers to abetment  of  suicide.   It  says  that  if  any
person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide,  shall
be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to  10  years  and
shall also be liable to fine.  The action for committing suicide is also  on
account of mental disturbance caused by mental  and  physical  cruelty.   To
constitute an offence under Section 306, the prosecution  has  to  establish
that a person has committed suicide and  the  suicide  was  abetted  by  the
accused.  Prosecution has to establish  beyond  reasonable  doubt  that  the
deceased committed  suicide  and  the  accused  abetted  the  commission  of
suicide.   But for the alleged extra marital relationship, which if  proved,
could  be  illegal  and  immoral,  nothing  has  been  brought  out  by  the
prosecution to show that the accused had provoked, incited  or  induced  the
wife to commit suicide.

27.   We have on facts found that at best the relationship of  A-1  and  A-2
was a one-sided love affair, the accused might have developed  some  likings
towards A-2, his colleague, all the same, the facts disclose  that  A-1  had
discharged his  marital  obligations  towards  the  deceased.  There  is  no
evidence of physical or mental  torture  demanding  dowry.   Deceased  might
have been under serious  “emotional  stress”  in  the  sense  that  she  had
undergone an abortion in the year 1992, and the year following that,  though
a daughter was born to her, the daughter also died few days  of  its  birth.
After one or two years, she committed suicide.  Evidence,  in  any  way,  is
lacking in this case to hold, that due to the alleged  relationship  between
A-1 and A-2, A-1 had  intended  or  intentionally  inflicted  any  emotional
stress on the deceased wife, so as to drive  her  to  the  extreme  step  of
ending her life.  In the suicide note she had not made  any  accusations  as
such against A-1 or A-2, on the other hand she stated that it  was  she  who
was selfish and egoist. Suicide note (Ex.44), which was  translated  by  the
High Court, reads as under :-

      “My husband Pinakin is a very good man and he is  not  responsible.  I
      also love him.  However, I am extremely bad, selfish and  egoist  and,
      therefore, not a match to him.

      He is in love with Priti Bhakt, serving in LIC and wants to marry  her
      and, therefore, for their happiness, I am taking this step.

      No one of  my  house  is  responsible.  Therefore,  they  may  not  be
      harassed. Kindly arrange their marriage with all pomp and  gaiety.   I
      gift my dead body to the medical students and I donate my eyes to  the
      blinds.

                                                   Yours
                                                     Jagruti


      This is my last wish which be fulfilled for the peace of my soul.”


28.   Suicide note completely exonerates A-1, which states that he  was  not
responsible for death of the deceased.  On  the  other  hand,  the  deceased
described herself as extremely selfish, egoist and, therefore, not  a  match
for A-1.   
She entertained the belief that her husband A-1 was in love  with
A-2 and wanted to marry A-2.  Note states it was  for  their  happiness  she
had decided to end her life.  She also wanted to have the  marriage  of  A-1
and A-2 solemnized with pomp and gaiety.   
On reading the suicide note,  one
can infer that the deceased was  so  possessive  of  her  husband,  and  was
always under an emotional stress that she might lose her husband.  Too  much
of possessiveness could also lead to  serious  emotional  stress,  over  and
above the fact that she had one abortion and her  daughter  died  after  few
days of birth.  
No evidence is forthcoming in this case  to  show  that  A-2
ever evinced any interest to marry A-1.   On  the  other  hand,  during  the
subsistence of the alleged relationship, A-2 herself got married.
29.   
We are, therefore, of the considered view that  the  relationship  A-1
had with A-2 was not of such  a  nature  which  under  normal  circumstances
would drive one to commit suicide or that A-1 by his  conduct  or  otherwise
ever abetted or intended to abet the wife to commit suicide.  
Courts  below,
in our view, have committed serious error in holding that it was due to  the
extra marital relationship A-1 had with A-2 that led the  deceased  to  take
the extreme step to commit suicide, and A-1 was instrumental  for  the  said
act.   
In the circumstances, we are inclined to allow this  appeal  and  set
aside the order of conviction and sentence imposed on the appellant, and  he
is set at liberty.  Ordered as above.



                                                             ………..………………….J.
                                                      (K.S. Radhakrishnan)



                                                               ……………………………J.
                                          (Pinaki Chandra Ghose)
New Delhi,
September 09, 2013.



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