‘Abusive talk won’t amount to abetment’


No such indication in suicide note: SC

Use of abusive language against a person who shortly went on to take his own life will not amount to abetment of suicide, the Supreme Court has held.

The judgment by a Bench of Justices R. Banumathi and Indira Banerjee came on an appeal filed by M. Arjunan. He had challenged a Madras High Court decision in 2015 confirming a trial court’s order that held him guilty of abetment of suicide. The High Court, however, reduced Arjunan’s imprisonment from three years to three months.

Trouble started when Arjunan loaned ₹50,000 to Rajagopal and obtained a promissory note in 2001. A year later he started putting pressure on the latter to pay ₹1 lakh, which included the interest on the amount borrowed. Unable to bear the pressure, Rajagopal committed suicide. He wrote a suicide note stating his inability, due to financial difficulties, to repay the loan.

The trial court, on the basis of the suicide note and the testimonies of Rajagopal’s family, found Arjunan guilty of abetment. The High Court also agreed that the suicide note confirmed his guilt. However, the Supreme Court disagreed with the lower courts. The court examined the note to conclude that there was nothing in its tenor to indicate that Arjunan instigated the victim to take his own life.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 6:05:47 AM |

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