Summary of Recent judgment

Case: Naresh Kumar v. State of Haryana

Date of Order / Judgment: 22nd February, 2024.

The Matter Heard by Bench: Justice J.B. Pardiwala & Justice Manoj Misra


The facts of the case states that the deceased Rani was married to the convict appellant in the year 1992, this was the deceased’s second marriage. The deceased and the convict appellant had a daughter out of marriage. It was alleged that the deceased was harassed by her husband on the pretext of money. The convict appellant wanted to open a ration shop and was demanding money from the wife (deceased). Thereafter the wife consumed poison and committed suicide in November, 1993. As a result of the prevalent circumstances the convict appellant was charged with the offence of abetting the commission of suicide by his wife punishable under Section 306 of the IPC by the Trial court in Karnal. Aggrieved by the judgment, the convict appealed to the Punjab & Haryana High Court. Allowing the appeal the High Court confirmed the judgment of the trial court and upheld the conviction of the appellant accused. Then the convict appellant reached the Hon’ble Supreme Court in against the judgment of the High Court.


Whether the Presumption under Section 113 A of the Indian Evidence Act automatically apply deciding the culpability of the accused under section 306 IPC?


The Apex Court observed that “The guilt of the accused has to be determined on the basis of legal evidence on record. The question is: On what and where did the two courts falter? In our opinion, the two courts faltered as they failed to apply the correct principles of law to the evidence on record on the subject of abetment of suicide. The two courts got enamoured by just three things, (i) the deceased committed suicide within seven years of marriage, (ii) the accused was demanding money from the parents of the deceased for starting some business, and (iii) the deceased used to remain tense. We do not say that these are irrelevant consideration. All the three aspects are relevant. But there are settled principles of law to be made applicable to the matters of the present type. In the case of accusation for abetment of suicide, the court should look for cogent and convincing proof of the act of incitement to the commission of suicide and such an offending action should be proximate to the time of occurrence. Appreciation of evidence in criminal matters is a tough task and when it comes to appreciating the evidence in cases of abetment of suicide punishable under Section 306 of the IPC, it is more arduous. The court must remain very careful and vigilant in applying the correct principles of law governing the subject of abetment of suicide while appreciating the evidence on record. Otherwise it may give an impression that the conviction is not legal but rather moral.”


The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and held that the courts below erred in delivering the order of conviction first passed by the Trial Court and affirmed by the High Court. The Apex Court set aside and acquitted accused of the charge framed against him.