Break-up trauma not ground for abetment to suicide: Mumbai court

It is "morally" incorrect to change partners on a whim, but there is no legal remedy for the person facing rejection, the court held

Representative illustration
Representative illustration


Suicide owing to mental trauma after a break-up does not make for a case of abetment, a court in Mumbai observed while acquitting a woman accused of abetting her former boyfriend’s death.

It is "morally" incorrect to change partners as per one’s whims and fancies, but there is no remedy under penal law for the person facing rejection in a relationship, the court held.

Additional sessions judge N.P. Mehta made these observations on 29 February and acquitted Manisha Chudasama and her fiancée Rajesh Panwar, who were accused of abetting the suicide of Nitin Keni. Keni was found hanging in his house on 15 January 2016 and was rushed to a hospital where doctors declared him dead.

"Morally, it is incorrect to switch love partners at one’s whims and fancies, but if one sees from the provision of penal law, no remedy lies with the victim whose partner has switched his or her love relationship with other on her/his choice," the judge observed.

The judge, in his order, also said to constitute abetment under 306 of the Indian Penal Code, there should be active suggestion, instigation or encouragement on the part of the accused to push the deceased to consider suicide.

"A person is emotionally broken if the partner whom he loves breaks the relationship without any reason. If there are heartbreaks in a love relationship and one partner commits suicide because of mental trauma, (it) would not bring his case under section 107 read with 306 of the IPC," the court added.

The prosecution had argued that Chudasama and Panwar had mentally tortured the victim, driving him to suicide. Keni was in a relationship with Chudasama, but she dumped him and got engaged to Panwar, they said. The defence countered that Keni was stalking Chudasama and she had lodged a police complaint against him, but he persisted.

The court said from the testimony of the prosecution, it appeared that the deceased was "upset and mentally disturbed", and went into a depressive state of mind soon after he found out about Chudasama’s relationship with Panwar. Assuming Chudasama got engaged to Panwar after breaking up with Keni, the circumstance should not have caused him to take extreme steps, the court said.

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