M Vijayakumar vs State Of Tamil Nadu 2024 INSC 177 -S 106 Evidence Act – S 306 IPC – Abetment Of Suicide

Indian Penal Code, 1860; Section 306– While considering the question as to whether a person can be convicted under Section 306, IPC or whether a conviction thereunder could be sustained, one has to consider the mens rea of the accused/convict to bring about suicide of the victim. Needless to say, that it requires an active act or direct act which led the victim to commit suicide seeing no option; and in other words, the act must have been of such a degree intending to push the deceased into such a position that he/she committed suicide.

Indian Evidence Act, 1872; Section 106 – This Section is an exception to the general rule laid down in Section 101 which casts burden of proving a fact on the party who substantially asserts the affirmative of the issue. Section 106 is not intended to relieve any person of that duty or burden. On the contrary, it says that when a fact to be proved, either affirmatively or negatively, is especially within the knowledge of a person, it is for him to prove it. This Section, in its application to criminal cases, applies where the defence of the accused depends on his proving a fact especially within his knowledge and of nobody else. In short, Section 106 cannot be used to shift the burden of proving the offence from the prosecution to the accused. It can only when the prosecution led evidence, which, if believed, will sustain a conviction or which makes out a prima facie case, that the question of shifting the onus to prove such fact(s) on the accused would arise. (Para 18)

Mens Rea – ‘Mens rea’ means a guilty mind. As a general rule, every crime requires a mental element, the nature of which, will depend upon definition of the particular crime in question. Although it is impossible to ascribe any particular meaning to the term ‘mens rea’ as the circumstance to determine the existence of mens rea depends upon the ingredients constituting the particular offence and the expression used in the definition of the particular offence to constitute such offence.

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