Abetment of Suicide

Actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death have brought a storm in hindi film industry. Rajput was found hanging inside his house on june 14th. Mumbai Police is investigating the matter, has termed his death a suicide. The post-mortem report of the actor had also mentioned the cause of the death as “asphyxia due to hanging”. But his fans are calling ‘nepotism’, ‘favoritism’ and false campaign of maligning his image, is the cause of his death. Fans of the late actor have launched a social media campaign and demanding for CBI inquiry.
Meanwhile, Mumbai Police is trying to find out the reasons of his suicide. Police is also investigating the angle of abetment of suicide into the matter. Total 37 people including the actor’s family members, close friends, and industry counterparts have already been questioned. The first findings suggest that Sushant was taking psychiatrist help for the last one year.

What law says?
Section 306 of Indian Penal Code 1860, describes, abetment of suicide. It says that, 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.
The offence of abetment shall conform to the definition of ‘abetment’ under Section 107 of IPC i.e. there must be instigation, or engaging in conspiracy or assistance in the commission of offence.

Earlier this year, Bombay High Court hearing a matter of offence punishable under Sections 498A (Husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty) and Section 306 IPC, remarked that,
“.. It is to be kept in mind that it is easy to accuse somebody of ill-treatment after someone dies, but it will not be wise to convict somebody based on such general statements.”
Gurcharan Singh vs. State of Punjab– In this case, the Supreme Court observed that the basic ingredients of Section 306 of IPC are suicidal death and the abetment thereof. To constitute abetment, the intention and involvement of the accused to aid or instigate the commission of suicide is imperative. Any severance or absence of any of these constituents would militate against this indictment.
In the case of Randhir Singh vs. State of Punjab, The Apex Court enunciated on the pith and purport of Section 306 IPC and opined:
‘Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding that person in doing of a thing.’
‘More active role which can be described as instigating or aiding the doing of a thing is required before a person can be said to be abetting the commission of offence under Section 306 of IPC.’

Supreme Court of India elaborated the term ‘instigation’ in the case of Ramesh kumar v state of Chhattisgarh. The court stated that, ‘Instigation is to goad, urge forward, to provoke, incite or encourage to do an act.’

In order to prove abetment, it must be shown that the accused kept on inciting or annoying the deceased by words, taunts or wilful omission or conduct which may even be wilful silence until the deceased reacted.
Secondly, the accused’s intention should be present there. Because mens rea is the necessary concomitant of instigation.

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