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Satvir Singh And Ors vs State Of Punjab And Anr on 27 September, 2001
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Her husband, father-in-law and mother-in-law (the appellants before us) were convicted by the Sessions Court under Section 116 read with Section 306 IPC, besides Section 498A. On the first count they were sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for two and a half years and a fine of Rs.10,000/- each, and on the second count they were sentenced to imprisonment for two years and a fine of Rs.5,000/- each. When the appellants filed an appeal before the High Court in challenge of the said conviction and sentence the victim also made a motion before the same High Court as she felt that condign punishment has not been meted out to the guilty persons. Both were disposed of by the impugned judgment delivered

single Judge of the High Court of Punjab and Haryana. The findings made by the Sessions Court were concurred with by the High Court. However, an alteration was made by substituting Section 306 IPC with Section 304B IPC to be read with Section 116 IPC. Commensurate alteration was made in the quantum of sentence by escalating it to RI for five years each. It was during the wee hours of 17.6.1996 that Tejinder Pal Kaur (PW-5) ran in front of a train. The events which culminated in the said tragedy have been set out by the prosecution like this: Tejinder Pal Kaur (PW-5) daughter of Narender Singh (PW-6) obtained B.A. degree and B.Ed. degree before her marriage. On 15.11.1992 she was given in marriage to Satvir Singh (A-1), a businessman, and thenceforth she was living in her husbands house. Devinder Singh (A-2) and Paramjit Kaur(A-3) who are the parents of Satvir Singh(A-1) were also living in the same house. Though dowry was given at the time of marriage the appellants started harassing the bride after about 4 or 5 months of the wedding for not giving

At the outset we may point out that on the aforesaid facts no offence linked with Section 306 IPC can be found against any of the appellants. The said section penalises abetment of suicide. It is worded thus: 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. It is a unique legal phenomenon in the Indian Penal Code that the only act, the attempt of which alone will become an offence. The person who attempts to commit suicide is guilty of the offence under Section 309 IPC whereas the person who committed

Learned Sessions Judge went wrong in convicting the appellants under section 116 linked with Section 306 IPC. The former is abetment of offence punishable with imprisonment - if offence be not committed. But the crux of the offence under Section 306 itself is abetment. In other words, if there is no abetment there is no question of the offence under Section 306 coming into play. It is inconceivable to have abetment of an abetment. Hence there cannot be an offence under Section 116 read with Section 306 IPC. Therefore, the High Court was correct in altering the conviction from the penalising provisions fastened with the appellants by Sessions Court.