Woman Committing Suicide In Her Matrimonial Home Does Not Itself Make In-Laws And Husband Liable For Harassment And Abetment: Punjab & Haryana High Court






Case Title: State of Haryana vs Darshan Lal

The single bench of Justice N.S Shekhawat by Punjab & Haryana High Court dismissed the appeal preferred by the State and upheld the decision of the Trial Court saying that the woman committing suicide in her matrimonial home does not itself make in-laws and husband liable for harassment and abetment.

The deceased (woman) was married to the respondent.  After which she came back to her paternal home after 7 days of the marriage saying that her husband wants to divorce her. It is also alleged that the husband and his family members started harassing the deceased and forced her to bring more dowry even though the dowry was given at the time of marriage beyond the capacity of the deceased’s parents.  It is further alleged that the deceased complained that her husband had kept another lady and when she started protesting that, she was beaten up.

The deceased’s father submitted that his daughter (deceased) committed suicide due to the torture she was facing by her in-laws.

The appeal has been preferred by the State of Haryana after the lower court ruled in favour of the husband and his family.

The bench observed that wife committing suicide in her matrimonial home does not make husband and in-laws liable for abetment to commit suicide and there is no evidence against her husband and her in-laws that they had committed crime.

The bench further stated that the abetment includes a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person to do something.

 The Court concluded that the prosecution witness leveled vague and general allegations against the respondents and failed to withstand the test of cross-examination. It further pointed that “mens rea to commit the offence is a sine qua non to convict a person under Section 306 IPC.”

The bench therefore, upheld the decision of trial court and dismissed the appeal preferred by the state.

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