The Madras High Court has acquitted a man who was sentenced to ten years imprisonment by a lower court on charges of abetting his wife’s suicide.
The woman had ended her life in 2003 by jumping into a well along with her 18-month-old daughter as she was upset over her husband’s extra marital affair.
In a recent order, Justice S Vaidyanathan said the illicit relationship per se would not come under the ambit of cruelty under IPC section 498 A (husband or relative of husband of a woman subjecting her to cruelty).
The judge, referring to IPC section 306, (abetment of suicide), said, “To constitute an offence under section 306, the prosecution has to establish beyond reasonable doubt that the deceased committed suicide and the accused abetted the commission of suicide.”
“But, for the alleged extra marital relationship, nothing has been brought out by the prosecution to show that the accused had provoked, incited or induced the wife to commit suicide,” the judge noted.
Acquitting the accused, the judge further said even if the alleged illicit affair between the accused and his paramour is proved, there is no other acceptable evidence on record to establish such high degree of mental cruelty, which has driven the wife to commit suicide.
Justice Vaidyanathan made the observations on an appeal by Manickam challenging the order of a mahila court convicting him of abetting his wife’s suicide.