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Abetment Of Suicide: A Critical Study And Legal Accountability

The Study's objective is to conduct a critical analysis of the laws now in place regarding aiding and abetting suicide as well as the rulings made by the Apex Court about various cases. The Indian Penal Code (IPC) contains laws about the defense of suicide. Suicide assistance is illegal in India under Section 306.

S.306 - Abetment of Suicide:
Anybody who aids in the act of suicide. will be punished with either type of Imprisonment for a maximum term of ten years and liable to penalty.

While attempting to commit suicide is punishable under section 309, Abetment of suicide is punished under section 306.

Section 306 does not apply to aiding and Abetting suicide attempts instead Section 309 read in conjunction with IPC 107 is applicable. In some other jurisdictions, there are penalties for both the perpetrator and the accomplice, Even though attempting suicide is not a crime. Both helping someone commit suicide and helping someone attempt suicide are punishable under the law. Therefore aiding and abetting a suicide attempt is rendered illegal even in cases when the consequences for doing so are deemed desirable. Suicide is a frequent occurrence that affects people from all socioeconomic backgrounds everywhere. It is an unusual crime in which the victim and the accused are the same individual.

The Indian Penal Code's Sections 309 and 306 provide penalties for both attempting suicide and aiding and abetting suicide. When handling such cases, medical professionals should use extreme caution in their opinions because the precise cause and circumstances of the incident are frequently unknown. To prevent a miscarriage of justice, decisions must be made with great care and attention to detail, including a visit to the crime site. To take the right action, a thorough investigation, careful analysis, and a visit to the crime site are very necessary.

I am profoundly grateful to my mentor, Mr. Parth Singh[3] , for his unwavering guidance and support throughout the course of my research internship at the office of Advocate Partap Singh. His extensive expertise in constitutional theory and his dedication to legal scholarship have been an invaluable source of inspiration for this research paper. Throughout this internship, Mr. Singh has been a constant source of encouragement, offering constructive feedback and sharing his vast knowledge and experience.

His mentorship has not only enhanced my understanding of the jurisprudential though process of the country but also the law and has also instilled in me a strong sense of professional ethics and dedication to legal advocacy. I am deeply appreciative of the opportunities he has provided, and I am honored to have had the chance to learn from him. This paper would not have been possible without his invaluable advice and supervision.

Happiness can be found, Even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light of hope [4]

In India, suicide is a tragic reality that affects many families and communities. While the act of ending one's life is already devastating, the legal implications of abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code add another layer of complexity to this sensitive issue. Nowadays, the majority of tragic young bride deaths in marriages are thought to be the result of the bride's unfulfilled dowry expectations and the dissatisfaction of their parents. Aiding someone in their attempt to commit suicide is criminal exclusively under section 309 read with section 107 of the IPC; it is not covered by the preview of section 306.

Therefore, aiding and abetting constitutes a criminal offense even in cases when the penalty for attempting suicide is deemed unfavorable. Have you ever wondered about the complex legal and ethical considerations surrounding the abetment of suicide? In this comprehensive research, we delve deep into the intricate details of this sensitive topic, the nuances of Section 306, exploring what constitutes abetment, the legal implications, and the impact on society.

Meaning Of Suicide

  • Suicide can refer to any act that has the effect of causing defeat.
  • A person who intentionally takes their own life.

Meaning Of Abetment

  • The word "abet" has come to mean assistance, cooperation, and support. It also encompasses an unlawful motive for committing a crime. To apprehend someone who is aiding someone in carrying out an act under any of the circumstances.

What Is Considered An Abetment Of Suicide?

  • Abetment of suicide refers to the act of assisting, encouraging, or instigating someone to take their own life.
  • This can also include providing the means, knowledge, or Emotional support for the individual to commit suicide.
There is a provision that punishes both the abetment of suicide and the abetment of attempted suicide. Thus, even in cases where the sentence for attempting suicide is deemed undesirable, abetment is designated a criminal offense. The key elements of abetment include intention, active involvement, and a direct link to the act of suicide.

Concept Of Suicide & Abetment Of Suicide

Abetment of suicide, as defined under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, occurs when a person instigates, persuades, or encourages another individual to commit suicide. The key elements of abetment include intention, active involvement, and a direct link to the act of suicide.

Imagine being faced with the difficult decision of whether to assist someone in ending their life. This contentious issue of abetment to suicide has sparked debates globally. We will delve into the complexities of abetment to suicide, exploring different perspectives and legal frameworks.

Suicide can be caused by a variety of factors, including a career or personal crisis, feelings of isolation, abuse, family troubles, violence, mental health concerns, alcoholism, chronic pain, and so on. The suicide rate increased in 2021 (1,64,033) compared to 2020 (1,53,052). [5] A variety of factors, such as career or personal crises can cause suicides.

According to IPC s. 108 an "abettor" is someone who encourages or coerces another to commit an offense. It is defined as encouraging or helping someone to commit suicide. A conviction cannot stand unless the accused intentionally encouraged or abetted suicide.

Different Types Of Suicide Abetment

  • Direct involvement in planning or executing the suicide.
  • Persuading, coercing, or manipulating the individual to end their life.
  • Providing lethal substances or weapons to facilitate suicide.

Elements Of Section 306

In State of Gujarat v. Raval Deepakkumar Shanker Chand defines the essential conditions that form the act of abetment of suicide.
  • Abetment
  • The accused intends to facilitate, incite
  • Facilitate the person's suicide.[6]

Law Provisions Related To Abetment

Section 107 Mainly deals with the Abetment of a thing:
  1. First: incites someone to act;
  2. Second: participates in a conspiracy with one or more other people to carry out the action, provided that an act or illegal omission regarding the conspiracy and the action is taken, and
  3. Third: purposefully encourages the action through any act or illegal omission.
    • Different countries have varying laws regarding the criminalization of abetment of suicide.
    • In some jurisdictions, abetment of suicide is considered a criminal offense punishable by law.
    • Legal complexities arise when determining intent and culpability in cases of alleged abetment of suicide.

Instigation As Abetment Of Suicide

Any manifestation of instigation can occur. The law does not stipulate that instigation must be exclusively verbal; it can also be through conduct. Between the act committed and the instigation, there must be a distinct causal link. A person instigates another when actively suggesting, stimulating, supporting, hinting, or insinuating the commission of an act. Just being associated with someone who commits a crime doesn't make a person guilty of abetting unless it's proven that they encouraged or intended to help in the charge of the crime. A person who simply watches without taking an active part in the crime is not considered an abettor.

Factors Considered In Abetment Cases

When determining whether abetment of suicide has occurred, the court considers various factors such as the mental state of the deceased, the nature of the relationship between the accused and the deceased, and any evidence of direct or indirect encouragement towards suicide. It is essential to establish a clear link between the actions of the accused and the act of suicide.

Impact Of Abetment On Families And Communities

Abetment of suicide not only affects the individual who takes their life but also has a profound impact on their family, friends, and the community at large. The aftermath of suicide can lead to emotional distress, stigma, and a sense of guilt among those left behind. It is crucial to address the root causes of abetment to prevent such tragedies from recurring.

The Presumption Of Abetment

In cases where a conjugal woman dies by suicide within seven years of her marriage, and if it is shown that her husband or his relatives were cruel to her as defined in section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, then the Court may presume that the husband or his relatives abetted the suicide, according to section 113-A of the Evidence Act, 1872.

In cases where the husband or any of his relatives are found guilty of cruelty towards the wife, the presumption of abetment to commit suicide is applied under Section 113-A of the Evidence Act, 1872.

The Apex Court confidently sustained the conviction, emphasizing that the deceased's mother's statement did not explicitly specify that the cause of the ill-treatment was a demand for money and subsequent beating. This contrasts with the legislation's intent. The Court compares it to legislation governing any trade, enterprise, or transaction.

Proof Of Concept
In many situations, it's difficult to find concrete proof of incitement directly linked to suicide. The accused's actions could create a situation where an individual feels overwhelmed and finds it hard to keep going.

The Court in its landmark judgment held that A superior officer cannot be found guilty of abetment of suicide just for assigning duties to a lower officer and for taking acts like ceasing to receive his income, as stated in Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. When a person is pushed to commit suicide because of no other options, he is forced to do it. How can the Court establish if the deceased was subjected to such harassment or was pressured to commit suicide? In the courts, Section 306 is still not adequately defined.[7]

The Court also debated the definition of instigation. The court ruled that it must be the intention to incite, coerce, or motivate someone to do action. Suicidal behavior varies among individuals based on their perception of self-esteem and self-respect. Dealing with such situations defies a strict formula. Each case must be decided based on its unique facts and circumstances.[8]

Important Aspects- Mens Rea

The most important aspect of abetment is that it is active and intentional for an individual to be the culprit of an offense. While applying the law about abetment to suicide should consider the mens rea aspect which plays an important role as a precondition liability. In a precedent-setting decision, it was decided that even while an individual participated in the innocent portions of the lawsuit, there was still a need to link them to the criminal portions of the case. In an act where the doing of performance itself amounts to an offense, mens rea is not necessary to prove abetment in certain situations, such as the sale of pornographic records under Section 292 of the IPC or those involving strict liability under social or public welfare laws.

Understanding The Correlation Between Section-306 & 107 Of Ipc,1860 Is Crucial For A Comprehensive Legal Understanding
Sec. 107 IPC deals with that person instigates, engages with one or further other person or persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing if an act or illegal omission takes place in the performance of that conspiracy, and to the doing of that thing; or thirdly, designedly aids, by any act or illegal omission, the doing of that thing.

The three sentences of Section 107 specify that the abetment may occur by instigation, conspiracy, or willful aid. According to Section 109, the offender would get the same sentence for the initial infraction if the conduct they encouraged was carried out as a result of their abetment and there is no provision for punishing them for it. As a result, the offense for which someone is accused of aiding and abetting is usually associated with the assistance of an established offense.

Legal Implications Of Section 306

Under Section 306, abetment of suicide is considered a criminal offense in India. Those found guilty of abetting suicide can face imprisonment for up to ten years and may also be liable to pay a fine. The law recognizes the gravity of influencing someone to take their own life and seeks to hold individuals accountable for their actions.

The aiding and abetting suicide is an atrocious, serious, and non-compoundable misconduct that cannot be moved with a simple plea bargain.[9]

How To Obtain Bail In A Case Of Abetment Of Suicide?

It is not easy to get bail in the case of abetment of suicide due to several reasons, It is a non-bailable offense. To want bail the accused must rely on strong reasons. The accused can go for anticipatory bail. The court must be satisfied with various aspects of the accused like his/her standing in the community and the motive behind the occurrence of the offense. Considering all these things the court can grant the bail as he thinks fit. It is necessary to take an experienced lawyer to take their assistance for such a serious crime.

Comparison With Murder And Abetment Of Suicide

The Apex court made out that suicide is not the same as the abetment of suicide. both the crimes are different despite causing another person's death, there are common factors in both scenarios.[10]

The court stated that the involvement of a person should be strongly and directly in connection with their instigation and involvement. Any significant distance between these elements would not be sufficient to indict the accused.

Applicability Of Section 306 Ipc To The Constitution

Bombay High Court, in the case of Naresh Morotrao v. Union of India (1994), held that Section 306 constitutes a completely separate offense from Section 309. Section 306 of the IPC, 1860 punishes the accomplice of a suicide act rather than the victim of a suicide or suicide attempt. It is firmly grounded on the governmental policy principle that no one should share in, incite, or support in the commission of a crime.[11]

Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 was revisited, and an apex Court decisively dismissed the issue, citing the ruling in Naresh Morotrao v. Union of India (1994). Abetment of suicide under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code is a serious offense that carries legal consequences and impacts individuals, families, and communities. By understanding the complexities of abetment, raising awareness about mental health, and promoting support services, we can work towards preventing instances of suicide and fostering a compassionate society.

Abetment Law

Chapter V of the IPC addresses the liability of individuals who are considered abettors in the commission of an offense.

Abetment And Abettor!

As per Section 108 of the IPC, an abettor is defined as an individual who aids in the perpetration of an offense.

Perpetration of an offense.

Committing an offense by an individual without any mental or physical incapacity.

Under this section, an abettor can avoid liability through express withdrawal or revocation of the assigned task. likewise, a person cannot be prosecuted for furnishing evidence in support of a crime or charge.

The act doesn't have to be performed to charge someone with abetment. The act of abetment is considered to have been committed indeed if it is part-completed or interrupted.

Prevention Measures And Support Services

To combat the abetment of suicide, education and awareness campaigns on mental health issues, suicide prevention helplines, and counseling services play a vital role. Creating a supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable seeking help and expressing their emotions can prevent instances of abetment and promote overall well-being.

Suicide abetting is the act of encouraging, motivating, or supporting the victim during their suicide. It is determined that one of the worst and leading serious crimes is abetment. Sec 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 allows the investigation to establish a case of abetment of suicide only after all necessary rudiments have been met. The methods of committing crimes have evolved throughout time to the point where they now fall outside the purview of the laws that have been passed.

Such provisions are necessary because they help prevent verdicts from being limited to the narrow application of criminal law pigeonholes. People in today's developing society deal with a lot of issues at home and work. Those who are unable to handle these pressures often take their own lives, which makes suicide a rising regular phenomenon.

Furthermore, there has been a consistent rise in the number of suicidal cases accompanied by cases of suicide abetting, whether by instigation or actual assistance to the victim in committing suicide. Due to the punitive laws' narrow scope, which only covers three categories, the accused can simply circumvent them. Therefore, the laws about the offense of abetment must be changed so that criminals are unable to circumvent the law, settle disputes to their satisfaction, and avoid punishment, the laws must be read liberally and without restriction.

But each case's unique facts and circumstances ensure that justice is served. The definition of abetment as it exists now is inadequate. The section discusses conspiracy, instigation, and assistance as forms of abetment; however, there are situations in which a person's actions fall outside of these categories and instead exert pressure on a victim to take their own life. Thus, there is an issue when someone aids in suicide, a youngster, or an insane person. Thus, the null hypothesis is validated.[12]

  1. *
  2. Office of Advocate Partap Singh (no date) Who is Advocate Parth Singh? Alumnus of JGLS & NALSAR, Office of Advocate Partap Singh. Available at: (Accessed: 19 May 2024).
  3. Parth Singh, an advocate at the Supreme Court of India and the High Court of Punjab & Haryana, is an LLM candidate at Columbia Law School for 2024-25. With Master's in Criminal Law & Forensic Science from NALSAR University with distinction. Mr. Singh is also among the youngest Judicial Law Clerk appointed by the Chief Justice of India. Notably Mr. Singh as a scholar, has also contributed to Cambridge University Press (Scopus Indexed) on "Determination of Sentences: Policy and Practice," advocating for sentencing guidelines and a statutory board in India
  4. Wikipedia. Available at: (Accessed: 15 June 2024).
  5. National Crime Records Bureau. (n.d.-a).
  6. State of Gujarat v Raval Deepakkkumar Shankerchand and others on 21 March 2022 - Judgement (no date) LexTechSuite. Available at: (Accessed: 07 June 2024).
  7. Vaijnath Kondiba Khandke vs the state of Maharashtra on 17 ... Available at: (Accessed: 15 June 2024).
  8. Chitresh Kumar Chopra vs state on 10 August, 2009. Available at: (Accessed: 15 June 2024).
  9. Daxaben vs. State of Gujarat & Ors. (no date) Available at: (Accessed: 07 June 2024).
  10. Sangaraboina Sreenu vs State of Andhra Pradesh on 23 April, 1997. Available at: (Accessed: 07 June 2024).
  11. Naresh Agarwal vs. Union of India Uoi. Available at: (Accessed: 07 June 2024).
  12. Manju & Anr v. State of Punjab on 12 May 2024
Written By: Mr. Devanshu Saxena, Law Student, Chandigarh Law College Punjabi University Patiala - (Legal Intern, Office of Advocate Partap Singh)[2]
Mentor & Supervisor: Advocate Parth Singh

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