Section 306 of IPC with reference to case law, By Kartikeya Hundet, At LexCliq

Overview on Section 306 of IPC

The offence under Section 306 of IPC shall hold the person liable for the maximum imprisonment of 10 years or description of a term along with a fine in accordance with the discretion of the court depending upon the facts and circumstances case.

Classification of section 306 of IPC:

  • The offence is a Non-bailable Offence that means the accused has no right to claim bail, as the seriousness of the crime the accused has to apply for bail application in court.
  • The accused has committed a cognizable offence that means the accused can be arrested without a warrant of arrest issued by the magistrate to a police officer.
  • It is a non-compoundable offence which means that the parties cannot withdraw such a charge without approaching the court. The offence is more heinous in nature than other offences in which the parties cannot compromise.
  • When a person charges for abetment of suicide shall be triable by the session court.

In Shrimati Gian Kaur vs State of Punjab, 1996 AIR 946 case:

Fact: The petitioners are Mrs Gian Kaur and her husband Harban Singh were convicted under section 306 IPC. for abetting the commission of suicide of their daughter-in-law, Kulwant Kaur. In the trial court, they both were held guilty for punishment sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for a term of 6 years each and liable to pay a fine of Rs. 2000/-. However, they apply for SLP to the Supreme court against their conviction sentence under section 306 of IPC, 1860. 

Issue raise:

  1.     Whether the Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is Constitutionally valid? And
  2.     Whether Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 violates Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution or not?

The contention by petitioner counsel: The counsel contended that there was no kind of abetment from the petitioner toward the allegation for an attempt to suicide by the deceased. Section 306 of IPC should be held unconstitutional by referring to the case of P. Rathinam V Union of India[1]. The court held that section 309[2] of IPC was unconstitutional as it violated the fundamental right of article 21 of the Indian constitution. Court also states that the ‘right to die’ has fallen within the ambit of article 21. Therefore, the council contends that the cited case is sufficient to declare section 306 as unconstitutional and violate article 21 of the constitution.

The contention by Respondent counsel: The counsel argued that abetment to suicide under section 306 of IPC is different and independent the section 309 of IPC, as apposite party counsel contention was not valid.

It was also argued that the ‘right to die’ does not fall under the ambit of right to life guaranteed in article 21 of the Indian constitution, therefore it was contended that the ruling of P.Rathinam cases should be stuck down and the validity of section 306 of IPC will remain.

Court finding: The five judges Constitutional Bench in the instant case held that the ‘right to life is inherently inconsistent and inconvenient with the ‘right to die. The court overruled the previous decision[3], hence making section 306 and section 309 of the Indian penal Code, 1860 constitutional valid and dismissing the petitions.    


[1] 1994 SCC (3) 394

[2] Attempt to commit suicide.

[3] P. Rathinam v. Union of India 1994 SCC (3) 394


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