[ad_1]

Punjab and Haryana High Court: Present revision petition was preferred against the order dated 16-08-2019 passed by the Additional Sessions Judge, Jalandhar (‘the Trial Court’) and charge-sheet dated 16-08-2019 whereby a charge for the offence punishable under Section 305 of the Penal Code, 1860 (‘IPC’) was framed against the petitioner. Jasjit Singh Bedi, J.*, opined that by its inherent nature, the post of a teacher required discipling of students, which could include taking steps to curb their unruly behaviour or pushing them harder to improve their grades. In either situation, a teacher was likely to use harsh and aggressive language. Many students were unlikely to get affected by the act, conduct or language of a teacher. However, if a particular student, who had a hypersensitive nature, committed suicide, then it would indeed be a travesty of justice that a well-meaning teacher would have to face trial for abetment in such a scenario.

The Court opined that in the present case, it appeared that the deceased was weak in studies for which she was reprimanded, and even otherwise, neither the FIR nor the suicide note refer to any specific instances of acute harassment amounting to abetment. Thus, the Court set aside the impugned order and charge-sheet dated 16-08-2019.

Background

On 06-02-2019, the deceased’s father filed a complaint against the petitioner alleging that his adopter daughter-deceased who was a student of KMV Secondary School, had committed suicide at their house by hanging herself on the ceiling fan. It was alleged that as per the suicide note, the extreme steps to commit suicide had been taken because of the harassment meted-out to the deceased by petitioner, who was her Mathematics teacher in school. Thereafter, the FIR was registered at Police Station Rama Mandi, District Jalandhar for the offence punishable under Section 306 IPC.

Thus, petitioner was arrested and subsequently released on regular bail vide order dated 05-04-2019. Upon noticing that deceased was a minor of fifteen-sixteen years, the investigation agency deleted the offence punishable under Section 306 of IPC and instead invoked Section 305 of IPC. Further, the Trial Court passed an impugned order and charge-sheet dated 16-08-2019 whereby a charge for the offence punishable under Section 305 of the IPC was framed against the petitioner.

Analysis, Law, and Decision

The Court relied on Geo Varghese v. State of Rajasthan, (2021) 19 SCC 144 and opined that to constitute an abetment of suicide under Section 306 of IPC, there must be either direct or indirect act of incitement to the commission of suicide. The Court opined that if a person committing suicide was hypersensitive and the allegations attributed to the accused were not ordinarily expected to induce a similarly situated person to take such extreme step, it would be unsafe to hold the accused guilty of abetment of suicide. Therefore, it was required that every case was examined on its own facts and circumstances.

The Court opined that even if the allegations against the accused were of such a nature that would drive an ordinary person to commit suicide, there must be a proximate and live link between the occurrence of extreme harassment and the subsequent suicide. The act complained off at the hands of the accused must be the only factor which subsequently led to the deceased committing suicide.

The Court opined that in the present case, perusal of the FIR and the suicide note showed that no specific incidents had been pointed out by the deceased’s father or the deceased which compelled the deceased to commit suicide. In fact, there had been absolutely no positive act on the part of the petitioner to instigate or aid the deceased in committing of suicide. Further, it had not been established that the petitioner intended to push the deceased to such a situation that she would ultimately commit suicide. At the very best, it could be said that the deceased was harassed and nothing more.

The Court opined that independent three members committee constituted by the school also concluded that the deceased was weak in studies and that petitioner’s behaviour did not amount to harassment of students in general. Further, by its inherent nature, the post of a teacher required discipling of students, which could include taking steps to curb their unruly behaviour or pushing them harder to improve their grades. In either situation, a teacher was likely to use harsh and aggressive language. Many students were unlikely to get affected by the act, conduct or language of a teacher. However, if a particular student, who had a hypersensitive nature, committed suicide, then it would indeed be a travesty of justice that a well-meaning teacher would have to face trial for abetment in such a scenario.

The Court opined that if there was evidence to suggest that the act and conduct of a teacher was particularly harsh towards a specific student and there were multiple specific incidents of acute harassment then the situation would be completely different. In the present case, it appeared that the deceased was weak in studies for which she was reprimanded, and even otherwise, neither the FIR nor the suicide note refer to any specific instances of acute harassment amounting to abetment. Thus, the Court set aside the impugned order and charge-sheet dated 16-08-2019.

[Naresh Kapoor v. State of Punjab, CRR-300 of 2020 (O&M), decided on 25-04-2024]

*Judgment authored by- Justice Jasjit Singh Bedi


Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: P.S. Ahluwalia, Advocate;

For the Respondents: Mohit Saroha, AAG, Punjab; Anil Kumar Spehia, Advocate.

Buy Penal Code, 1860   HERE



[ad_2]

Source link

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *