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The Legal Affair

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The Legal Affair

Let's talk Law

J&K and Ladakh High Court Debates Criminal Penalties for Sarcastic Harassment in Suicide Case

J&K and Ladakh High Court Debates Criminal Penalties for Sarcastic Harassment in Suicide Case

Factual Matrix 

In the case of State of J&K v. Tariq Hussain, The defendant’s wife was brought to the hospital in June 2008 with burns. The victim, a woman who had been legally wedded for two and a half years, was single and didn’t have any kids. The responder was on the phone, and when she didn’t pick up, she doused herself with kerosene oil and lit herself on fire. The woman stated that her spouse was to blame for her passing. The victim was sent to another hospital, but she passed away the route. By Sections 306/498-A RPC, an FIR was filed against the respondent. The Trial Court found that the prosecution’s case was weak due to a lack of substantial evidence and that it had failed to establish the respondent’s complicity. The accusations against the respondent were dropped, and the present appeal was filed.

Issue

Whether the spouse knowingly encouraged their spouse to attempt suicide 

Analysis of Court order 

The Jammu and Kashmir High Court’s Single Judge Bench ruled that Section 306 of the Ranbir Penal Code does not apply to simple harassing of a partner by her husband or in-laws resulting from matrimonial conflict or caustic remarks. Although the court took note of the delay in recording the testimony of prosecution witnesses, the fact that the investigating officer has not been questioned by the prosecution is enough to undermine their case.

The judge also took notice of allegations made by unaffiliated witnesses who claimed that the dead victim had a short fuse and would burn herself after getting irritated. The court also noted that the victim’s parents gave a completely different account and attempted to portray the case as one of murder in contrast to the prosecution’s position that the issue was one of suicide. The Court emphasized that there is no materials or testimony on file from which it is possible to conclude that the respondent encouraged the deceased to commit suicide. Nothing in the records indicates that the responder ever planned to help the deceased commit suicide or actively took part in doing so.

According to the Court, the dead was particularly sensitive to the grief of marital life and that tension between both spouses, such as mocking and caustic words, might result in suicidal thoughts. However, since these occurrences represent typical wear and tear, Section 306 of the RPC is not violated. The Court emphasised that in order to establish whether the wife’s suicide was caused by cruelty, courts must carefully and cautiously evaluate the facts and circumstances as well as the evidence provided by the prosecution. The verdict of the trial court was supported by the Court, having dismissed the appeal.

CASE NAME – State of J&K v. Tariq Hussain, Crl A(AS) No. 19/2019