In cases wherein the woman commit suicide within seven years of marriage, a question often arises as to whether she was abetted by her husband or any relative of the husband to commit suicide. Generally, it is bounden duty of the prosecution to prove all the ingredients of the offence of abetment of suicide as per the general principle contained under section 101 of the Act.
As per this principle of section 113 A, in case of suicide by a married woman within a period of seven years from the date of her marriage, if a question arises as to whether she was abetted to commit suicide by her husband or any relative thereof, then upon the proof of certain facts the court may presume that the woman was abetted to commit suicide. As presumption affects the burden of proof directly, therefore, once the court raises the presumption, the onus would shift upon the accused to disprove the allegation of abetment of suicide and that it was a personal choice of the woman who committed the suicide.
Certain essentials to be proved before a presumption under section 113 A of the Act may be raised are:
- There has been a suicide that has been committed by a married woman
- This side has been committed by the woman within a period of seven years of her marriage
- That she was subjected to cruelty by her husband or any of the relatives of the husband.
If these facts are proved, then the court may having regard to all the other facts and circumstances of the case presume that the husband or such relative of the husband as the case may be has abetted the commission of suicide. For the purposes of raising a presumption under section 113 A of the Act, cruelty may be for any purpose, not restricted for or in connection with demand of dowry. But the Court is not bound to presume. This presumption is discretionary in nature. It is not conclusive but it is rebuttable.
In Gurbachan Singh v. Satpal Singh, it has been held that section 113 A is retrospective and so it applies to case where offence was committed prior to the insertion of this section.
In another case of State of Himachal Pradesh v. Nikku, it was held that this section shows that if the woman has been subjected to cruelty as defined in section 498 A of Indian Penal Code, the court may presume, having regard to all circumstances of the case that suicide had been abetted by her husband or any of his relations.
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