MARIANO ANTO BRUNO & ANR. VERSUS THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE

MARIANO ANTO BRUNO & ANR. VERSUS THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE

Landmark Cases of India / सुप्रीम कोर्ट के ऐतिहासिक फैसले



REPORTABLE
IN THE SUPREME COURT OF INDIA
CRIMINAL APPELLATE JURISDICTION
CRIMINAL APPEAL NO. 1628 OF 2022
MARIANO ANTO BRUNO & ANR. ….. APPELLANT(S)
VERSUS
THE INSPECTOR OF POLICE ….. RESPONDENT(S)
J U D G M E N T
KRISHNA MURARI, J.
1. The present appeal is directed against the judgment and order
dated 31.01.2022 passed by the High Court of Judicature at Madras
(hereinafter referred to as “High Court”) in Criminal Appeal No. 166 of
2021 filed by the Appellants herein seeking to set aside the order of
conviction passed by the Sessions Judge, Mahila Court, Chennai
(hereinafter referred to as “Trial Court”) in S.C No. 209 of 2016 under
Sections 498A and 306 of the Indian Penal Code (hereinafter referred to
as “IPC”). The Appellants were sentenced to undergo imprisonment for
a period of 3 years with a fine of Rs. 5,000/- each, in default of which to
undergo simple imprisonment for a period of one month under Section
1
498A IPC and to undergo imprisonment for a period of 7 years with a
fine of Rs. 25,000/- each in default of which to undergo simple
imprisonment for a period of 3 months under Section 306 IPC. By
impugned judgment, the High Court upheld the conviction of the
Appellants for the offence under Sections 498A and 306 IPC.
2. Briefly, the facts relevant for the purpose of this appeal are as
follows:
2.1 The marriage between Appellant No. 1 and Dr. M. Amali Victoria
(hereinafter referred to as “deceased”) was solemnised on 08.09.2005
and a male child was born out of wedlock in the year 2007. On the
professional front, both parties are doctors. Appellant No. 1 was
informed on 05.11.2014 that the deceased had collapsed in the
bathroom of their home and was non-responsive. Immediately, an
ambulance was called by the father of Appellant No. 1. On reaching the
site of the incident, Appellant No. 1 found the deceased having no pulse.
Despite intervention from the neighbors of Appellant No. 1 who were
doctors, the deceased could not be resuscitated and passed away on
05.11.2014. Post mortem of the body was conducted on 06.11.2014 and
the cause of death was asphyxia due to external compression of the
neck.
2
2.2 On 06.11.2014, The Respondent Police registered FIR No. 1865 of
2015 at Police Station K2, Ayanavaram, District Kilpauk, Chennai based
on the statement of Appellant No. 1 owing to the unnatural death of the
deceased under Section 174 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973
(hereinafter referred to as “Cr.P.C”).
2.3 After 3 weeks of the death of the deceased, PW-1(the mother of
the deceased) lodged a complaint against the Appellant No.1, Appellant
No. 2(mother-in-law), and the father-in-law of the deceased for the
offences punishable under Sections 498A and 306 IPC. Thereafter, the
FIR was converted from Section 174 Cr.P.C to Sections 498A and 306
IPC.
2.4 It was the case of the prosecution that the marriage of the
deceased with Appellant No. 1 was solemnised in the year 2005 and
since the deceased was not having a child for 1.5 years, the appellants
abused her and compelled her to participate in the Pooja and on the
refusal of the same, she was threatened by the appellants that she
would die. Subsequently, the deceased gave birth to a male child
named Rosando by caesarean in the year 2007. Further, the Appellant
No. 1 caused immense mental torture to the deceased by compelling
her to have another child in spite of the fact that the deceased had a
3
miscarriage with her second pregnancy. The deceased was made to do
all the domestic household work and was subjected to continuous
cruelty at the hands of the appellants. Due to the same reason, the
deceased was driven to commit suicide on 05.11.2014.
3. Thereafter, on completion of the investigation, charge sheet was
filed and cognizance was taken. Since the offences are triable by the
Court of Session, the said case being SC No. 209 of 2016 was
committed to Mahila Court, Chennai for trial.
4. The Trial Court framed charges against the appellants for the
offences under Sections 498A and 306 IPC. The appellants pleaded not
guilty and therefore they came to be tried for the aforesaid offence.
5. In order to substantiate the case, the prosecution examined 15
witnesses. From side of the defence, no witnesses were examined. The
statement of the appellants was also recorded under Section 313 of
Cr.P.C.
6. The Trial Court, after analysing the statement made by the
prosecution witness and evidence of the defence, vide judgment and
order dated 26.03.2021 convicted the Appellants i.e., the husband and
mother-in-law of the deceased for the offences under Sections 498A and
4
306 IPC and were sentenced as stated herein above. The Trial Court
acquitted the father-in-law of the deceased of all the charges.
7. Challenging the judgment and order passed by the Trial Court, the
Appellants filed Criminal Appeal No. 166 of 2021 before the High Court.
The same was dismissed with the observation that the Appellants have
committed the offence under Sections 498A and 306 IPC and the Trial
Court rightly appreciated the evidence and convicted the appellants
herein. The Respondent police were directed to send the appellants to
undergo the remaining period of sentence. Being aggrieved by the High
Court order, the appellants have preferred the present appeal.
8. We have heard Mr. Kapil Sibal, Learned Senior Advocate
appearing on behalf of the appellants and Mr. P.V. Yogeswaran,
Learned Counsel appearing on behalf of the Respondents.
Contentions on behalf of the Appellants:
9. Mr. Kapil Sibal, Learned Senior Advocate submitted that the
allegations of cruelty have been made for the first time in the complaint
made by the mother of the deceased and there is not even a whisper of
these allegations in over 9 years of marriage by the deceased or her
family. On the contrary, the relations between the Appellants and his
family, and the deceased and her family were extremely cordial.
5
10. It was vehemently submitted that the deceased was suffering from
bipolar disorder and this fact was not disclosed to the petitioner at the
time of marriage. In spite of the non-disclosure of the same, Appellant
No. 1 took good care of the deceased and it cannot be alleged that the
deceased committed suicide due to abetment by the Appellants.
11. It was further submitted that the complaint has been made
belatedly with an ulterior motive which is also reflected in/from the initial
statements of family members of the deceased made soon after her
death.
12. It was next submitted that there were no signs of animosity
between the families when their statements were being recorded
immediately after the death of the deceased. However, one of the sisters
of the deceased asked for the custody of Appellant No.1’s son (rights
over the property) and on refusal, the complaints started.
13. It was further submitted that the courts below completely
disregarded the testimony of PW-9 who was the medical professional,
who treated the deceased on 04.11.2014 ie., one day before her death.
The summary recorded by PW-9 clearly records the history of
depressive illness in the past, suicidal attempts, and suicidal ideas.
6
14. It was also submitted that the courts below have proceeded with
convicting the appellants solely on the basis of the testimony of PW-1 to
PW-3 alleging continuous harassment and mental cruelty by the
appellants.
15. Reliance was placed on the decision of this Court in Amalendu
Pal Vs. State of West Bengal1
, Rajesh Vs. State of Haryana2
,
Gurcharan Singh Vs. State of Punjab3
, Ude Singh & Ors. Vs. State
of Haryana4
.
Contentions on behalf of the Respondents:
16. Mr. P.V. Yogeswaran, Learned Counsel appearing for the
Respondents submitted that the evidence of PW-1 to PW-3 has clearly
established that after marriage, all the accused persons demanded more
dowry and also stated how the deceased was abused and humiliated for
not conceiving and compelled her consume cow urine in the name of
‘Pooja’.
17. It was further submitted that the Trial Court as well the High Court
has weighed all relevant factors, including the nature of the charge, the
1 (2010) 1 SCC 707
2
 (2020) 15 SCC 359
3 (2020) 10 SCC 200
4 (2019) 17 SCC 301
7
gravity of the offence and penalty, and the nature of evidence while
convicting the Appellants under Sections 306 and 498A IPC.
18. It was also submitted that PW-1 to PW-3 have consistently stated
about the nature of harassment and incident which instigated the victim
to commit suicide leaving her only child.
19. It was next vehemently submitted that there is clear evidence to
show that after the abortion of second pregnancy in 2014, the abuse,
harassment, and instigation by the accused persons increased many
folds.
20. We have carefully considered the rival contentions of the learned
counsel appearing for the parties and perused the entire records.
21. The genesis of the present appeal originates from the impugned
order pronounced by the High Court whereby the High Court upheld the
conviction of the Appellants under Sections 306 and 498A of IPC. Taking
that into account, it is necessary to advert to the essential ingredients of
Section 306 IPC.
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22. Section 306 of IPC reads as under: -
“306. Abetment of suicide: - 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.”
23. Abetment is defined under Section 107 of IPC which reads as
under:-
“107. Abetment of a thing:- A person abets the
doing of a thing, who -
First- Instigates any person to do that thing; or
Secondly- Engages with one or more other person or
persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, if
an act or illegal omission takes place in pursuance of
that conspiracy, and in order to the doing of that thing;
or
Thirdly- Intentionally aids, by any act or illegal
omission, the doing of that thing.
Explanation 1- A person who by wilful
misrepresentation, or by wilful concealment of a
material fact which he is bound to disclose, voluntarily
causes or procures, or attempts to cause or procure,
a thing to be done, is said to instigate the doing of that
thing.
Explanation 2- Whoever, either prior to or at the time
of the commission of an act, does anything in order to
facilitate the commission of that act, and thereby
facilitate the commission thereof, is said to aid the
doing of that act.”
9
24. While analyzing the provisions of Section 306 IPC along with the
definition of abetment under Section 107 IPC, a two-Judge Bench of this
Court in Geo Varghese Vs. State of Rajasthan and Another5 has
observed as under:-
“13. In our country, while suicide in itself is not an
offence as a person committing suicide goes beyond
the reach of law but an attempt to suicide is considered
to be an offence under Section 309 IPC. The abetment
of suicide by anybody is also an offence under Section
306 IPC. It would be relevant to set out Section 306 of
the IPC which reads as under :-
“306. Abetment of suicide. —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.”
14. Though, the IPC does not define the word
‘Suicide’ but the ordinary dictionary meaning of
suicide is ‘self-killing’. The word is derived from a
modern latin word ‘suicidium’ , ‘sui’ means
‘oneself’ and ‘cidium’ means ‘killing’. Thus, the word
suicide implies an act of ‘self-killing’. In other words,
act of death must be committed by the deceased
himself, irrespective of the means adopted by him in
achieving the object of killing himself.
15. Section 306 of IPC makes abetment of suicide a
criminal offence and prescribes punishment for the
same.
16. The ordinary dictionary meaning of the word
‘instigate’ is to bring about or initiate, incite someone to
do something. This Court in the case of Ramesh
5 2021 SCC OnLine SC 873
10
Kumar Vs. State of Chhattisgarh1 has defined the
word ‘instigate’ as under :-
“Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke,
incite or encourage to do an act.”
17. The scope and ambit of Section 107 IPC and its corelation with Section 306 IPC has been discussed
repeatedly by this Court. In the case of S.S.Cheena Vs.
Vijay Kumar Mahajan and Anr6
, it was observed as
under:-
“Abetment involves a mental process of
instigating a person or intentionally aiding a
person in doing of a thing. Without a positive
act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid
in committing suicide, conviction cannot be
sustained. The intention of the legislature and
the ratio of the cases decided by the Supreme
Court is clear that in order to convict a person
under Section 306 IPC there has to be a clear
mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires
an active act or direct act which led the
deceased to commit suicide seeing no option
and that act must have been intended to push
the deceased into such a position that he
committed suicide.”
25. The ingredients of Section 306 IPC have been extensively laid out
in M. Arjunan Vs. State, represented by its Inspector of Police7
 which
are as under: -
“The essential ingredients of the offence under Section
306 I.P.C. are: (i) the abetment; (ii) the intention of the
accused to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to
commit suicide. The act of the accused, however,
insulting the deceased by using abusive language will
not, by itself, constitute the abetment of suicide. There
6 (2010) 12 SCC 190
7 (2019) 3 SCC 315
11
should be evidence capable of suggesting that the
accused intended by such act to instigate the
deceased to commit suicide. Unless the ingredients of
instigation/abetment to commit suicide are satisfied,
accused cannot be convicted under Section 306
I.P.C.”
26. In order to convict an accused under Section 306 IPC, the state of
mind to commit a particular crime must be visible with regard to
determining the culpability. With regard to the same, a two-judge bench
of this Court in Ude Singh & Ors. Vs. State of Haryana8 observed as
under:-
“16. In cases of alleged abetment of suicide, there
must be a proof of direct or indirect act/s of incitement
to the commission of suicide. It could hardly be
disputed that the question of cause of a suicide,
particularly in the context of an offence of abetment of
suicide, remains a vexed one, involving multifaceted
and complex attributes of human behavior and
responses/reactions. In the case of accusation for
abetment of suicide, the Court would be looking for
cogent and convincing proof of the act/s of incitement
to the commission of suicide. In the case of suicide,
mere allegation of harassment of the deceased by
another person would not suffice unless there be such
action on the part of the accused which compels the
person to commit suicide; and such an offending
action ought to be proximate to the time of occurrence.
Whether a person has abetted in the commission of
suicide by another or not, could only be gathered from
the facts and circumstances of each case.
16.1. For the purpose of finding out if a person has
abetted commission of suicide by another; the
consideration would be if the accused is guilty of the
act of instigation of the act of suicide. As explained
8 (2019) 17 SCC 301
12
and reiterated by this Court in the decisions abovereferred, instigation means to goad, urge forward,
provoke, incite or encourage to do an act. If the
persons who committed suicide had been
hypersensitive and the action of accused is otherwise
not ordinarily expected to induce a similarly
circumstanced person to commit suicide, it may not be
safe to hold the accused guilty of abetment of suicide.
But, on the other hand, if the accused by his acts and
by his continuous course of conduct creates a
situation which leads the deceased perceiving no
other option except to commit suicide, the case may
fall within the four-corners of Section 306 IPC. If the
accused plays an active role in tarnishing the selfesteem and self-respect of the victim, which eventually
draws the victim to commit suicide, the accused may
be held guilty of abetment of suicide. The question of
mens rea on the part of the accused in such cases
would be examined with reference to the actual acts
and deeds of the accused and if the acts and deeds
are only of such nature where the accused intended
nothing more than harassment or snap show of anger,
a particular case may fall short of the offence of
abetment of suicide. However, if the accused kept on
irritating or annoying the deceased by words or deeds
until the deceased reacted or was provoked, a
particular case may be that of abetment of suicide.
Such being the matter of delicate analysis of human
behaviour, each case is required to be examined on its
own facts, while taking note of all the surrounding
factors having bearing on the actions and psyche of
the accused and the deceased.”
27. In the backdrop of the above discussion, we may now advert to the
facts of the present case to test whether the conviction of the Appellants
for the offence under Sections 306 and 498A IPC is sustainable or not.
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28. The marriage of Appellant No. 1 and the deceased was
solemnised in the year 2005 and a male child named “Rosando” was
born out of the wedlock in the year 2007. It is pertinent to mention that
both, Appellant No. 1 and the deceased are reputed doctors by
profession working in the State of Tamil Nadu. There has been no
animosity between the families of Appellant No. 1 and the deceased
throughout their marriage. Infact, after the marriage, Appellant No. 1
came to know that the deceased was suffering from bipolar disorder.
Subsequently he also came to know that she had suicidal tendencies
right from her student days and had undergone treatment under a
psychiatrist at Thirunelveli, Tamil Nadu.
29. At this stage, it may be relevant to refer to the statement made by
Appellant No. 1 under Section 313 Cr.P.C which is as under:
“My wife had mental illness right from her young age.
She had undergone treatment several times as an inpatient even while she was studying. She had even
attempted suicide several times. They had got her
married suppressing the above facts. I became aware
of these facts only after the marriage when I
confronted my mother-in-law and my wife’s sister
regarding the above, my mother-in-law had left for
America. It was I who had treated my wife for 9 years
thereafter. I had managed to ensure that the effects of
the disease are contained to the minimum possible.
She continuously had Bipolar Disorder, Depression,
Phobias, Hallucination and Suicidal tendency. She had
been taking several medicines continuously for these.”
14
The fact stands corroborated by the summary of treatment report dated
04.11.14 by Dr. Shalini, Consultant Psychiatrist, PW-9 which is
reproduced below:-
“Dr. Amali Victoria/32/F MBBS, MD(psy), Asst Prof IMH
W/o Mr. Mariano Bruno / 36/ M Mch (Neuro) Surgeon
Mx 7 years A/NC/N/ 1 Son 7/M
 Couple present together
 Wife C/o sadness for past 1 month, after being posted in female
ward @ IMH
o Feels tired, not interested in working
o Feels demoralized, incapacitated
o Poor sleep
 She had felt well until 6 weeks, suddenly turned more and more
desparate.
 No H/o hypothyroidism
 H/o similar depressive illness in the past (+)
o H/o episode during MBBS, had attempted suicide, had
taken treatment with a psychiatrist at Thirunelvelli,
admitted in ICU, TMC.
o 2
nd episode post partum
o 3
rd episode present
 C/o suicidal ideas past two days – hence husband has brought
her for consultation today
 Client’s husband wants to go in for 2nd child, where as amali
fears that she may not be able to cope up. Feels helpless,
hopeless and worthless
 She wants to quit her job, but fears parents in law will leave her
and go back to native place. She feels she will not be able to
take care of her son or other future kids on her own.
15
 Husband says he had requested for a second opinion because
he feels she is getting very quiet and inactive at home. She had
previously consulted her psychiatrist colleague at IMH also. But
husband wants a second opinion as she has been talking of
committing suicide for the past 2 days.
 Amali Counselled
Advised free T3, TSH
 Rx
Cap. Prodep (20) 1-0-0
Tab Eliwel (25) 0-0-1
x 10 days
 To come with TFT report for review after 10 days
 To continue the therapy for sense of worthlessness”
30. Within few weeks of marriage, the Appellant No. 1 wrote an email
to the deceased’s mother and sister seeking their help in order to take
care of the deceased but the deceased’s mother refused to help and she
left for United States. Subsequently, with the help of Appellant No. 1, the
health condition of the deceased improved and she finished her postgraduation in 2013 with a gold medal and subsequently, started working
in the year 2014. The relationship between the families were cordial and
the deceased was very affectionate towards the Appellant’s family and
there are no evidence of cruelty or harassment meted out to her by the
Appellants.
31. In the year 2014, the deceased suffered a miscarriage, due to
which she started showing signs of depression and further took
16
treatment on 04.11.2014 from Dr. Shalini ie, PW-9, who prescribed
certain medications. However, the deceased passed away on
05.11.2014 after she was found unconscious in the bathroom.
32. With respect to bipolar disorder with which the deceased was
suffering, it refers to a disorder associated with episodes of mood swings
ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. Some of the symptoms of
bipolar disorder are as follows:
 Feeling sad, hopeless or irritable most of the time
 Lack of energy
 Difficulty in concentrating and remembering things
 Loss of interest in everyday activities
 Feelings of emptiness or worthlessness
Indeed, each suicide is a personal tragedy that prematurely takes the life
of an individual and has a continuing ripple effect, dramatically affecting
the lives of families, friends and communities. However, the court of law
while adjudicating is not to be guided by emotions of sentiments but the
dictum is required to be based on analysis of facts and evidence on
record.
33. Coming to the case at hand, FIR was lodged by Appellant No.1
due to the unnatural death of the deceased, soon thereafter, one of the
sisters of the deceased asked for the custody of the son of Appellant
No.1 and on refusal of the same, the mother of the deceased gave an
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oral statement after 3 weeks of the death of the deceased alleging that
the Appellants caused the death of the deceased and that she was
subject to constant harassment at the hands of the Appellants due to
insufficient dowry and the Appellants constantly abused the deceased for
not conceiving. It is thereafter, the FIR was converted from Section 174
Cr.P.C to Section 306 IPC. Charges were framed and after completion of
trial, the Trial Court convicted the Appellants under Sections 306 and
498A IPC. On Appeal, the High Court upheld the same. The operative
portion of the judgment reads as under: -
“16. Two things have to be proved by the prosecution
in order to sustain the appellants' conviction for the
offences under Section 498(A) and 306 IPC, as to
whether, the death of the deceased is unnatural and
as to whether the deceased committed suicide due to
harassment, inducement and abetment of the
appellants. In this case, as already stated, as per
the Medical evidence, it is clear that the victim
died unnaturally and the evidence of P.W.1 to P.W.3
proved that the appellants made harassment on
the victim and caused mental and physical cruelty.
Due to cruelty, the deceased has taken the
extreme step to end her life.
18. In cases of this nature, no independent witness
can be expected, because in India, the woman are
even well qualified persons, considering their family
reputation, they may not express certain things to any
third person or stranger and they can only say either to
their mother or sister or very close friend or wellwishers. In this case, P.W.1 is the mother of the
deceased and P.W.2 is the elder sister of the
deceased. There are no medical records produced on
the side of the appellants to show that the deceased
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was mentally disordered person or she is having
tendency of committing suicide. However, the
evidence of P.W.1 to P.W.3 and P.W.10, would clearly
show that the deceased committed suicide due to the
continuous harassment and the mental cruelty made
by the appellants. Hence, the evidence of P.W.1 to
P.W.3 are reliable and trustworthy, which inspires the
confidence of this Court to convict the appellants.
Testimony of interested witness cannot be per se
discarded and the Court has to adopt careful approach
and analyse evidence to find out the cogency and
credibility. This Court does not find out any reason to
disbelieve the evidence of P.W.1 to P.W.3 and
evidence of P.W.2 was corroborated by the evidence
of P.W.10.
20. A careful reading of the evidence of P.W.1 to P.W.3
and also the evidence of the Doctor who conducted
post-mortem proved that the victim was subjected to
harassment and cruelty made by the appellants. She
is well educated and working as a Psychiatrist in the
Government Mental Hospital, Kilpauk, she ended her
life by way of hanging. Therefore, this Court finds that
the appellants have committed the offence under
Sections 498(A) and 306 IPC and the learned trial
Judge rightly appreciated the evidence and convicted
the appellants and therefore, there is no merit in this
case and the appeal is liable to be dismissed.”
34. A bare perusal of the impugned judgment indicates that the High
Court erred in recording the finding that there is sufficient evidence for
convicting the appellants under Section 306 IPC losing sight of the fact
that there exists no evidence on record indicating that the deceased was
meted out with harassment by the appellants just before her death. It is
well-settled that not only there has to be evidence of continuous
harassment, but there should be cogent evidence to establish a positive
19
action by the accused which should more or less be proximate to the
time of occurrence, which action can said to have led or compelled the
person to commit suicide.
35. In case at hand, not only the said positive action in close proximity
to the time of suicide is absent but also there is no evidence for any
continuous physical or mental torture meted out to the deceased by the
appellants. On the contrary, appellant no. 1 himself took the deceased to
consult a psychiatrist just a day prior to this incident obviously with the
intention to make her feel better. The said act can by no stretch of
imagination be said to be any such act which may lead the deceased to
commit suicide. Further, the allegations made by PW-1 to PW-3 in their
statement with respect to continuous harassment and torture of the
deceased by the appellants just after the marriage is not worthy of being
relied upon and has to be taken with a pinch of salt on account of fact
that throughout their 9 years of marriage, there has never been any
complaint or a whisper in this regard either by the deceased or her family
members who appeared as prosecution witnesses. Even the deceased
herself who was a qualified doctor never made any complaint in this
regard. It is really hard to believe that a well-educated and self-reliant
lady would take such things lying down for a substantially long period of
9 years.
20
36. To convict a person under Section 306 IPC, there has to be clear
mens rea to commit offence. It also requires an active act or direct act
which leads deceased to commit suicide finding no other option and the
act must be such reflecting intention of the accused to push deceased
into such a position that he commits suicide. The prosecution has to
establish beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased committed suicide
and Appellant No. 1 abetted the commission of suicide of the deceased.
In the present case, both the elements are absent.
37. Now, so far as conviction under Section 498A IPC is concerned,
except the statement of the prosecution witnesses PW-1 to PW-3
recorded after the incident, there is no other evidence to establish the
allegation of any demand of dowry or ill treatment meted out to the
deceased during her marriage. The fact that there were cordial relations
between the families of Appellant No. 1 and the deceased is not
disputed. The deceased committed suicide on 05.11.2014 and the
complaint against the appellants were filed on 24.11.2014 i.e., 3 weeks
after the death of the deceased.
38. This Court has time and again reiterated that before convicting an
accused under Section 306 IPC, the Court must scrupulously examine
the facts and circumstances of the case and also assess the evidence
21
adduced before it in order to find out whether cruelty and harassment
meted out to the victim had left the victim with no other alternative but to
put an end to her life. It is also to be borne in mind that in cases of
alleged abetment of suicide, there must be proof of direct or indirect acts
of incitement to the commission of suicide. Merely on the allegation of
harassment without their being any positive action proximate to the time
of occurrence on the part of the accused which led or compelled the
person to commit suicide, conviction in terms of Section 306 IPC is not
sustainable.
39. Prosecution in order to prove the guilt of accused/appellants
produced the following witnesses:
 Mother of the deceased – PW-1
 Sister of the deceased – PW-2
 Brother of the deceased - PW-3
 Carpenter who broke open the bathroom door - PW-4
 servant maid working in the house - PW-5
 AC mechanic who accompanied the carpenter - PW-6
 Colleague of the deceased - PW-7
 Colleague of the deceased - PW-8
 Doctor who gave the treatment to the deceased on
04.11.2014 - PW-9
 Doctor who conducted autopsy on the dead body -
PW-10
 Doctor who declared the deceased as brought dead
on 05.11.2014 - PW-11
 Doctor who treated the deceased on abortion of the
second child - PW-12
 Auto driver - PW-13
 Sub-Inspector of Police - PW-14
 Inspector of Police who investigated the case – PW-15
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40. PW-1 to PW-3 are interested witnesses, still, PW-3 categorically
stated that “the marriage between my sister Dr. Amali Victoria and Dr.
Bruno was a happy marriage”. Thus there exists material contradictions
not only in his own statements and also the statement of other two
witnesses.
41. PW-9, Dr. Shalini is the Psychiatrist who had given treatment to the
deceased on 04.11.2014. she had deposed that the deceased
expressed her disinterest in duty, complained of lack of sleep and not
feeling hungry and also had no interest over anything. Further, PW-9
stated that these were the symptoms of depression. PW-9 in her
summary of treatment report dated 04.11.2014 stated that the deceased
stated cause of sadness for the past 1 month was due to her posting at
the female ward @ IMH and she feels tired, is not interested in working,
poor sleep pattern to name a few. Furthermore, it is pertinent to mention
that it was also noted in treatment summary by PW-9 that the deceased
had similar depressive illness in the past i.e., 1st episode during MBBS
college days, had attempted suicide, 2nd episode post-partum and
present is the third episode. The deceased had suicidal ideas before
going for the consultation with the psychiatrist on 04.11.2014 and the
same is evident from the summary of treatment. However, the evidence
of PW-9 i.e., the psychiatrist has not been considered by the Courts
23
below and conviction of the appellants were solely based on the oral
evidence of PW-1 to PW-3.
42. It is well settled that the Courts ought to be extremely careful in
assessing the facts and circumstances of each case and the evidence
adduced in the trial for the purpose of finding whether the cruelty meted
out to the victim had in fact induced her to end the life by committing
suicide. Reference may be made to the judgment of a three-Judge
Bench of this Court in Ramesh Kumar Vs. State of Chhattisgarh9
,
wherein this Court set-aside the conviction of the accused for the offence
under Section 306 IPC as ingredients of Section 306 IPC were not
satisfactorily proved. It was observed as under :-
“20. Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke,
incite or encourage to do "an act". To satisfy the
requirement of instigation though it is not necessary
that actual words must be used to that effect or what
constitutes instigation must necessarily and
specifically be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a
reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must
be capable of being spelt out. The present one is not
a case where the accused had by his acts or
omission or by a continued course of conduct
created such circumstances that the deceased
was left with no other option except to commit
suicide in which case an instigation may have
been inferred. A word uttered in the fit of anger or
emotion without intending the consequences to
actually follow cannot be said to be instigation.
9 (2001) 9 SCC 618
24
21. In State of West Bengal v. Orilal Jaiswal and
Anr.10, this Court has cautioned that the Court should
be extremely careful in assessing the facts and
circumstances of each case and the evidence
adduced in the trial for the purpose of finding whether
the cruelty meted out to the victim had in fact induced
her to end the life by committing suicide. 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 of abetting the offence
of suicide should be found guilty.”
 (emphasis supplied)
43. Accordingly, the facts and evidence in the present case which have
not been squarely analysed by both the Trial Court as well as the High
Court can be summarised as follows:-
1. The complaint against the appellants was filed after 3
weeks of the death of the deceased.
2. There is not a shred of evidence with respect to offence
alleged under Section 498A of the IPC meted out to the
deceased by the Appellants.
3. There has been no marital discord between Appellant No. 1
and the deceased during their 9 years of married life.
10 (1994) 1 SCC 73
25
4. There have been several emails exchanged between
Appellant No. 1 and sisters of the deceased whereby the
Appellant No. 1 was showered with praises for taking care
of the deceased in the best possible manner and credit was
also given to his parents for supporting the deceased in her
career. Further, it was the sister of the deceased, who
herself sent a mail to Appellant No. 1 saying “amali is
fighting a disorder”
5. The deceased was suffering from bipolar order and also
had suicidal ideas from few days before suicide. Further,
the deceased was also undergoing treatment for
depression as she was showing major symptoms of
depression like tiredness, poor sleep pattern, demoralised
feeling to name a few. The fact that deceased was suffering
from bipolar disorder was concealed from the Appellant
family during their marriage.
6. The Trial Court as well as the High Court did not take the
evidence of PW-9, Psychiatrist into consideration while
convicting the Appellants under Sections 306 and 498A of
IPC.
7. The conviction of the appellants is solely based on the oral
evidence of mother and sister of the deceased, who are
interested witnesses.
8. The post mortem report does not give the cause of the
death but on 15.12.14, the cause of the death is shown as
Ashpyxia due to external compression.
26
44. Having considered the aforesaid facts of the case in juxtaposition
with the judgments referred to above and upon appreciation of evidence
of the eyewitnesses and other material adduced by the prosecution, we
are of the view that Trial Court wrongly convicted the Appellants and the
High Court was also not justified in upholding the conviction of the
Appellants under Sections 306 and 498A IPC.
45. As a result, the impugned judgment dated 31.01.2022 passed by
the High Court as well as judgment and order of the Trial Court dated
26.03.2021 are unsustainable and deserve to be set aside and are
hereby set aside. The appellants are acquitted of the charges levelled
against them.
46. The appeal, accordingly, stands allowed.
...................................J.
(M. R. SHAH)
..................................J.
(KRISHNA MURARI)
NEW DELHI;
 12TH OCTOBER, 2022
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