Teacher's Slap Not Abetment To Suicide, Says Gujarat HC Quashing Criminal Charges Against School Trustee, Teacher - Vibes Of India

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Teacher’s Slap Not Abetment To Suicide, Says Gujarat HC Quashing Criminal Charges Against School Trustee, Teacher

| Updated: April 8, 2024 12:54

Denying that slapping a student by the teacher was abetment to suicide, Gujarat High Court quashed criminal charges against the trustee of Surat’s Samarpan School and a teacher of the school accused of slapping and humiliating an 18-year-old student, allegedly driving him to suicide.

Justice Divyesh Joshi found that there was no material on record to show that the accused instigated the student to commit suicide.

“To attract offence under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) there must be instigation in some form on the part of the accused to cause the deceased to commit suicide. The act of instigation must be of such intensity that it is intended to push the deceased to such a position under which he or she has no choice but to commit suicide,” the judge explained.

Such instigation, the judge added, must be in close proximity to the act of committing suicide.

“In the present case, taking the contents of the FIR and the statements of the witnesses as correct, it is impossible to conclude that the applicants instigated the deceased to commit suicide by way of so-called humiliation meted out to the deceased. By no stretch of the imagination, the alleged acts of the applicants can amount to instigation to commit suicide,” the Court held.

The Court added that it is unfortunate that the young student lost his life and that it is conscious of the pain and suffering being undergone by his mother.

“But as observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Geo Verghese (supra), the sympathy of the Court and pain and suffering of the complainant (student’s mother) cannot translate into a legal remedy, much less a criminal prosecution,” the Court said.

The case concerned a Class 12 science student who died by suicide after jumping from the 11th floor of an apartment building on January 22, 2016. The mother of the student stated that she later received information from fellow students of certain events that took place before the student’s death.

As per the information received, the deceased student’s batchmate had told the trustee that the earlier teaching staff of the school was better than the new staff.

The accused teacher is said to have overheard this complaint and assaulted the student who complained. The said accused is then alleged to have made it clear that he will keep beating other students of the class in the coming days.

A few days before the suicide, a commotion occurred behind the bench of the deceased student, for which the accused teacher slapped the student thrice. When the deceased asked the teacher as to why he was being slapped without any fault on his part, the teacher is said to have retorted that he would inform the reason by evening.

When the student persisted with his query, the teacher allegedly threw the student out of class and sent him to the trustee, who made the student stay back at the school till 6 PM.

On the next day, the student was asked to sit idly for two hours on the fourth floor of the school building. After two hours, the trustee told the student that his parents had been informed about his behaviour. Soon after after this, the student died by suicide.

A criminal case was filed against the school’s trustee and the teacher. In their petition to quash this case, the accused contended that the entire case was based on hearsay.

The Court found force in the arguments made on behalf of the accused.

“It cannot be said that there was any intention on their part to abet the commission of suicide by one of his own students and therefore no mens rea can be attributed. Thus, in the opinion of this Court, the very element of abetment is missing…in a case under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, there should be correct mens rea to commit the offence,” the Court observed.

Senior Advocate Asim Pandya along with Advocate Gaurav Vyas appeared for the accused. Additional Public Prosecutor Dhawan Jayswal represented the State. Advocate Utpal M Panchal represented the complainant.

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