Abetment of Suicide - Section 306

Abetment of Suicide - Section 306

‘chapter XVI’ of the Indian Penal Code comprises section 211 to section 313. This particular chapter deals with ‘offences affecting the human body’ and hence comprises laws against some of the most heinous and iniquitous crimes committed in our society. To provide a brief overview, this specific chapter of the IPC deals with culpable homicide, murder, dowry death, punishment for causing miscarriage, etc. In today’s article, we will delve deep into section 306 of the IPC which particularly covers ‘abetment of suicide’. This section states ‘If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide, shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.’   The fine is generally paid to the family of the deceased. We should also keep in mind the proper meaning that the word ‘abetment’ implies. In a distinct chapter of the IPC u/s 108, it is made clear that ‘abetment’ explicitly means instigating, engaging in a conspiracy, or assisting in committing the offence. Protecting the value of life has always been the sine qua non of law-making, in other orders, it is essential for any law to aim to preserve the sanctity of life. This is well demonstrated in the IPC that not only prohibits an individual to endanger another’s life but also his/her own. Therefore, proper implementation of laws that aim to attain such objectives is crucial and today’s topic, section 306 of the IPC, is no exception. 

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What is IPC 306?

Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code deals with punishment for ‘abetment of suicide’. It clearly states that if a person commits suicide, any person that instigates, assists, or conspires for such behavior to take place, in any way, should be held accountable and can be sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and can be fined. The series of acts that may prove someone to be guilty may vary from the use of force, words, conduct, wilful omission or commission, or even silence of the accused with the intention of annoying or irritating the victim which caused the latter to commit suicide.  IPC Section 306 falls under cognizable and non-bailable offences.

The ingredients of Section 306 IPC are:

  1. The victim must have committed suicide, i.e., should have ended his/her own life (and not murdered by any other individual). The accused can only be charged as guilty if suicide is committed by the victim because an unfulfilled attempt to commit suicide is not punishable under this Section. 

  2. The person accused under section 306 of the IPC must have abetted or instigated the victim to take such an action.

  3. The accused must have been directly involved with the occurrence of the crime through instigation, conspiracy, wilful omission or commission, or mere silence (with the proven intention of causing agitation or annoyance against the victim). 

Is IPC 306 bailable?

IPC Section 306 falls under the category of non-bailable offence. Non-bailable offences are considered to be much serious in nature.   In such offences, bail cannot be granted by the police officials before the accused is placed in front of the court. 

What is the punishment for IPC 306 Case?

A case under IPC section 306 deals with ‘abetment of suicide of an individual via instigation, commission or omission, or conspiracy.’

As everyone can see, it is a pretty serious charge and the consequences are laid accordingly by the Indian Penal Code.

Is IPC 306 a cognizable offence or a non-cognizable offence?

IPC Section 306 falls under the category of a cognizable offence. A cognizable offence is defined as an offence in which the police can arrest the offender without the need of a warrant and the offender has to be presented before the magistrate within 24 hours.

How to file/defend your case for IPC 306 offence?

A crime as serious as abetting in committing suicide by an individual can prove to be very complicated to deal with for the accused and the victim alike. A person charged u/s 306 of IPC can face severe consequences upon conviction. It is also equally challenging for the prosecutor to prove the charges imposed upon the accused. That is why it is very important for both sides to thoroughly prepare for the case. A person involved in such a case must have a thorough understanding of his/her rights before and after an arrest.  There may also be cases where an individual may have been falsely accused of a charge under IPC Section 306. 

Hence, it is crucial to have a crystal-clear understanding of the law involved in an abetment to suicide case, irrespective of what side an individual finds himself/herself on. Therefore, needless to say, one must consult a criminal lawyer as soon as possible to understand the procedure along with obtaining knowledge about the law that governs the case. 

For further in-depth assistance :

Consult an expert criminal lawyer with the help of Lawtendo to file or defend your case for or against IPC 306.

Is IPC 306 a bailable or non-bailable offence?

Section 306 of IPC falls under the category of non-bailable offence. In non-bailable offences, bail is considered a privilege unlike in bailable offences where bail is considered a right. Therefore, the accused cannot apply for bail in the police station before being presented in front of the court. In such cases, the accused must apply for anticipatory bail before being arrested if he/she has a reason to believe that they are heading down that path. The court will then consider various factors such as the previous criminal record of the accused (if any), the status of the accused in the society, the motive behind the offence, the charge sheet filed by the police, etc. After considering all the aforementioned details of the case, the court will decide whether bail will be granted or not

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Notable judgment under IPC section 306 :

Vitesh Kumar Bhawte and Bhimrao Bhawte v/s the State of Chattisgarh on 17th May 2019.

The summary of the case: A couple was engaged but the man calls off the engagement, refusing to marry the woman. In order to convince him, a social meeting was arranged with their respective families present. The man was sure of his decision but the woman was insisting on getting married to him only. This social meeting lasted a whole night but the problem wasn’t solved. In the morning hours, after failing to convince the man, the girl finds an excuse to go to her home and hangs herself therein.

The man was blamed by her friends and family and charges under IPC Section 306 were filed against him. He decided to challenge it in the High Court. The High Court observed the case and all the related factors and concluded that ingredients of 'abetment' were totally absent in this case for registering a valid offence under Section 306 IPC hence gave a verdict in favor of him. The court made it clear that it is deceased and she alone and no one else was responsible for her death.

Counsel for the applicants brought into the limelight that in the entire charge sheet, there was no material available on record to frame charges against the applicants for an offence u/s 306 IPC and as such, the Additional Sessions Judge had committed illegality in framing charges against the applicants as there was no valid instigation in conduct and behavior of the applicants to enforce the suicide committed by deceased. They also relied upon the judgment in the matter of Swamy Prahladas Vs. The state of M.P. 

wherein the appellant was charged for an offence under Section 306 IPC on the ground that the appellant, during the quarrel, told the deceased 'to go and die'. The Court concluded that just words uttered by the accused to the deceased 'to go and die' were not even prima facie enough to instigate the deceased to commit suicide. 

Hon'ble Justice Smt. Rajani Dubey passed the judgment on 17-05-2019.

The author of this beautiful article is Mr. Aritra Mishra.
Offence Punishment Cognizance Bail Triable By
Abetment of suicide. Imprisonment upto 10 years and fine. Cognizable Non-bailable Court of Session
Offence Abetment of suicide.
Punishment Imprisonment upto 10 years and fine.
Cognizance Cognizable
Bail Non-bailable
Triable By Court of Session


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