Published: 19th January 2021
Maharashtra: Court acquits teacher of abetting student's suicide
According to the prosecution, the victim felt humiliated by the teacher's questioning and committed suicide
A court here in Maharashtra has acquitted a 35-year-old school teacher of charges of abetting the suicide of a teen-aged student in 2014. In an order issued on January 15, a copy of which was made available on Monday, additional sessions judge S S Gulhane said questioning a student does not amount to abetment of suicide.
The judge also said that the prosecution failed to prove the charge under Indian Penal Code Section 305 (abetment of suicide of person below 18 years of age) against the accused, a mathematics teacher at an ashram school located in Talasari taluka of Palghar. According to the prosecution, the victim, who was studying in Class 10 at the school, allegedly hanged himself from the ceiling of his house in Talasari.
Some of his classmates later told the boy's father that when the accused teacher had enquired about marks of students in the maths exam, the victim lied to say he got more marks, though he had actually received less marks. The teacher then enquired if his father had asked him to tell the lie. He also asked the boy to call his father to school, but the victim refused to do so. The teacher then asked the victim and other students who had lied about their marks to go to the headmaster.
According to the prosecution, the victim felt humiliated by the teacher's questioning and committed suicide. In his order, the judge said the accused's act of asking the deceased about his father (if he asked him to tell the lie) and to call the latter to school does not amount to abetment of suicide.
"There is no mens rea (intention) on part of the accused to abet the deceased to commit suicide," he said. Being a teacher, it is his job to scold the students who tell lies, the judge said. The statement of the accused" is not an instigation and is also not an intentional aid to commit suicide", the court said in its order. It is necessary for the prosecution to establish that by his acts, the applicant/accused could reasonably foresee that because of his conduct, the victim was almost certain, or atleast quite likely to commit suicide, the judge said. "Unless this is established, a person cannot be charged of having abetted commission of suicide, even if the suicide has been committed as a result of some of the acts committed by the accused," the court said.