IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
Criminal Appellate Jurisdiction
Criminal Appeal No.232 of 2020
(Arising out of S.L.P. (Crl.) No.1174 of 2017)
Baisahab and ors.
Date of Judgement
11 February, 2020
Hon’ble justice L. NAGESWARA RAO and Justice Deepak Gupta
In this case, the Appellant filed an FIR at Kareli Police Station, District Narsingpur on 08.05.2014. In his complaint he stated that his wife (Nilu) has committed suicide along with their two children- Harisharan aged 1½ years and Ramsharan aged 1½ years because of harassment done by Respondent No.1 who is the wife of his elder brother and Respondent No. 2& 3 who are the brothers of the Appellant. Their father had distributed a land to which Respondent No.1 was no satisfied. Respondent No. 1,2& 3 started harassing the Appellant’s family especially Nilu. A false complaint was instituted by Respondent No.1 against the Appellant and his parents. Respondent No.1 created a threat in the mind of a maternal uncle of the Appellant that she will implicate the entire family in a criminal case. The matter later was solved for some time by the police. Later, Respondent no.1, 2& 3 went to village Jhumi and assaulted Nilu. Thereafter, Nilu committed suicide with her two children.
1. Whether the High Court was right in quashing criminal proceeding under Section 482 based on statement recorded under Section 161 of CrPC, 1973?
Respondent filed the petition before High Court of Madhya Pradesh under section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code for quashing the criminal proceedings. It was further submitted by the Respondent that ingredients of section 306 of Indian Penal Code which is “abetment to suicide” weren’t made out and thatany concatenation to suggest that respondent had incited deceased to take such an extreme step of committing suicide. It is further submitted by the learned counsel Mr. Shoeb Alam that the ingredients of section 306 and 107 IPC weren’t made out and there is no record to show that Respondent No. 1, 2 &3 have abetted the deceased to instigate her to commit the suicide. Hence, there is no reason they should face criminal trial.
Findings of the High Court:
The High Court recorded the statements of the Appellant and his family members under section 161 CrPC. The High Court recorded the statement of Ramsharan Kourav, the uncle of the deceased, who had stated in his statement under Section 161 that the deceased informed him that she is unable to bear the torture of Respondent Nos.1, 2 & 3 and was thinking of putting an end to her life. The High Court in its conclusion held that there was nothing present on record to show that the actions of the Respondents led to the suicide of the Appellant’s wife and his children and make out an offence under Section 306/34 IPC. It was held that at most, a case of criminal intimidation under section 506 IPC was made out on perusing statements of the Respondents recorded under Section 161 CrPC. The Court thus accordingly quashed the criminal proceedings against the Respondents.
Decision held by the Hon’ble Suprerme Court:
Aggrieved by High Court’s judgment, the Appellant approached the Supreme Court via a Civil Appeal. The Court as well noted that the statements recorded in terms of Section 161 CrPC were wholly inadmissible as evidences and were not valid grounds for allowing a petition under Section 482 CrPC. High Court also ignored that the fact that one witness had mentioned that Respondent had committed harassment over the deceased. The Supreme Court lastly said that the decision of the High Court in allowing the petition of Respondent for quashing the criminal proceeding is erroneous. Hence, the judgment of the High Court was set aside and appeal was allowed accordingly.
The Supreme Court, while quashing the order of the High Court and allowing the appeal, held that under section 161 of CrPC, High Court cannot quash the criminal proceeding on the basis of its assessment of statements recorded. Also, High Court cannot embark upon the appreciation of evidence while adjudicating the petition filed under section 482 of CrPC for quashing criminal proceedings. Also, the High Court could not quash the proceeding at this stage without taking into consideration the full-blown trail of Respondent No. 1, 2 & 3.
SECTION 161 OF CRIMINAL PROCEUDRE CODE, 1973:‘Examination of witnesses by police’.
SECTION 482 OF CRIMINAL PROCEEDING CODE, 1973: ‘Saving of inherent powers of High Court’. Nothing in this Code shall be deemed to limit or affect the inherent powers of the High Court to make such orders as may be necessary to give effect to any order under this Code, or to prevent abuse of the process of any Court or otherwise to secure the ends of justice.
SECTION 306 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860: ‘Abetment of suicide’.
SECTION 34 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860:‘Acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention’.
SECTION 506 OF INDIAN PENAL CODE, 1860:‘Punishment for criminal intimidation’.
Edited by Sree Ramya
Approved & Published – Sakshi Raje