A student leader of a University declared himself for self-immolation. He got logs piled up in front of the main gate of the University and sprinkled kerosene oil over it. Thereafter he climbed over the pile of wood and sprinkled kerosene oil…

By | July 21, 2021
ipc mains

Question: A student leader of a University declared himself for self-immolation. He got logs piled up in front of the main gate of the University and sprinkled kerosene oil over it. Thereafter he climbed over the pile of wood and sprinkled kerosene oil upon himself too. In the meantime, the police came and registered a case of “attempt to commit suicide”. Answer, giving reason whether the student is guilty of committing the said offence. [Haryana Judicial Services].

Find the answer to the mains question only on Legal Bites [A student leader of a University declared himself for self-immolation. He got logs piled up in front of the main gate of the University and sprinkled kerosene oil over it. Thereafter he climbed over the pile of wood and sprinkled kerosene oil…]

Answer

Suicide is as such no crime under the IPC. However, an attempt to commit suicide is made punishable under this section. Mens rea is one of the essential elements of this offence.

Section 309 of IPC defines an Attempt to commit suicide.

Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

The announcement of hunger strikes is a common scenario in India. Very often, these hunger strikes are resorted to as a means to pressurise some authority to concede the demands of the hunger strikers. So, generally speaking, the intention of a person on a hunger striker is not to kill himself, but, to the contrary, very often it is done for improvement, advancement or amelioration of some situation.

In view of this, the essential requirement of the offence, namely, the intention to kill oneself, is absent and hence, it cannot amount to an offence under this section. Thus, only in cases where the accused intends to persevere to the end, refuses all nourishment and reaches such a stage that there is imminent danger of death ensuing, can be held guilty of the offence of attempt to commit suicide as held in Ram Sunder Dubey v. State AIR 1962 All 262.

In the case of Ram Murat Pandey v. State Of U.P. & Another (2011) where the applicant went on fast-unto-death and also threatened to commit self-immolation the question before the court was whether the offence under Section 309 IPC has been committed.

The court observed that: If the grievances of a person are not attended to by the authorities, sometimes, unusual methods may be adopted to draw public attention, but the action of the applicant does not amount to attempt to commit suicide unless some specific act was done which indicated and he was about to commit suicide and had taken some action towards the final commission of the offence.

The applicant was arrested and was thus prevented from taking any action towards the commission of suicide. No kerosene oil, petrol, matchbox or other material was found on the spot which could be used by the applicant for committing suicide by self-immolation.

Therefore, it was held that there was no attempt to commit suicide by the applicant and the prosecution was unwarranted.

In the present case at hand, A after declaring self-immolation got logs piled up in front of the main gate of the University and sprinkled kerosene oil over it. Thereafter he climbed over the pile of wood and sprinkled kerosene oil upon himself too.

Until now the act of A was done merely to draw public attention and of the authorities. There was no matchbox or other material found on the spot which could be used by him to commit suicide, had there been a matchbox or other means present on the spot to set himself on fire, A will be guilty of an attempt to suicide.


Important Mains Questions Series for Judiciary, APO & University Exams

  1. IPC Mains Questions Series Part I: Important Questions
  2. IPC Mains Questions Series Part II: Important Questions
  3. IPC Mains Questions Series Part III: Important Questions
  4. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IV: Important Questions
  5. IPC Mains Questions Series Part V: Important Questions
  6. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VI: Important Questions
  7. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VII: Important Questions
  8. IPC Mains Questions Series Part VIII: Important Questions
  9. IPC Mains Questions Series Part IX: Important Questions
  10. IPC Mains Questions Series Part X: Important Questions

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.