Yardstick different in abetment of suicide cases of husband and wife, says Kerala HC

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Kochi, March 25 (IANS) The Kerala High Court has held that the yardstick used to consider a case of abetment of suicide of a wife can be different to that used in a case of abetment of suicide of a husband.

Justice Bechu Kurian Thomas said: “It is appropriate to mention that a straightjacket formula cannot be adopted while dealing with cases of abetment of suicide. Each case has to be decided on the basis of its own facts and circumstances. Unlike the wife in a marriage committing suicide, the husband’s suicide may stand on a different footing, especially after Sections 113A and 113B of the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, were incorporated, providing for certain presumptions.”

“Therefore the yardstick, while considering the case of abetment of suicide of a wife in a marriage, can be different from that to be adopted when the husband had committed suicide,” he added.

This order came on a petition moved by a woman seeking to quash the proceedings in a crime registered against her, alleging that she abetted the suicide of her husband.

Initially, a criminal case was registered for unnatural death, and subsequently, it was altered to abetment of suicide.

The prosecution’s case was that the petitioner saw some intimate videos of her husband with his former girlfriend, which led to marital discord between the couple and this took a heavy toll on the husband, resulting in his suicide.

But the court said: “There is no reference, at all, to any act done by the petitioner to aid or instigate her husband to commit suicide… Quarrels, fights, or disputes in a marital relationship are not abnormal or uncommon. Those quarrels cannot be reckoned as conduct amounting to abetment of suicide unless there is something more in the form of instigation or aiding.”

After going through all materials the court did not find any intention on the part of the petitioner to goad her husband to commit suicide and hence, quashed the proceedings against her.



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