The Bombay High Court, in quashing and setting aside a case of aiding and abetting suicide registered against a branch manager, observed that when the previous loan amount is unpaid and the branch manager refuses to grant a new loan , this can be considered an act of a vigilant and prudent banker and cannot be characterized as incitement to suicide.
VM Deshpande Justice Division Bench and Nagpur Bench Judge AS Kilor heard a criminal claim filed by Santosh Kumar Singh, 38, who worked as a branch manager for Bank of Maharashtra for the cancellation of the registered FIR to Morshi Police. Station, Amravati District, for an offense punishable under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
The complaint was lodged by Prashant Gawande, the brother of the late Sudhir Gawande, who committed suicide on June 12, 2015 by hanging himself in a bedroom in his home.
Lawyer Anand Deshpande appeared on behalf of the claimant and argued that the FIR cannot withstand scrutiny of the law as there is no indication that the claimant intended to assist, incite or to encourage Sudhir to kill himself. He argued that, according to the loan account, on March 31, 2015, there was an outstanding balance in the name of the complainant in the amount of Rs. 2,32,689.
In this view of the case, he argued that although it is accepted, as stated in the FIR, that on June 12, 2015, Sudhir approached the Bank of Maharashtra for a new loan by restructuring the loan account and if this request was refused, it cannot be considered as an encouragement to Sudhir to commit suicide.
On the other hand, the Additional Attorney General MJ Khan for the State, argued that the first information report shows that on 7 to 8 times Sudhir, the deceased, visited the Bank of Maharashtra, branch of Morshi, Amravati district, where the applicant was a branch manager and he applied for the restructuring of the loan and the granting of a new loan, but the applicant refused said application and, therefore, due to this refusal, Sudhir was not in a good mood.
APP Khan said that on June 12, 2015, he too, along with his cousin Sachin, went to the bank again and arrived at the house around 2:30 p.m. At that time, he brought ten bags of cement, but he did not bring seeds. Subsequently, as he was not keeping a good mood, the complainant’s mother inquired about it and Sudhir replied that since the branch manager refused to grant the loan, he would not take food and he would not take any food. ultimately committed suicide. Therefore, said act on the part of the plaintiff not to grant the loan resulted in Sudhir’s suicide by hanging, APP Khan argued.
After hearing submissions from both parties and reviewing Article 306 of the IPC, the judiciary said:
“The law is well crystallized by various statements of the Honorable Apex Court and of this Court. It would be helpful to have a reference to a few cases from the Honorable Apex Court without detailing the facts in those cases – Sanju aka Sanjay Singh Sengar v Madhya Pradesh State and Madan Mohan Singh v Gujarat State and anr. “
Finally, noting that the prosecution bears the burden of proving at least a prima facie case that the accused intended to aid or incite or abet the deceased to commit suicide, the Court observed:
“Certainly, in this case, the plaintiff’s loan account showed an unpaid amount of Rs 2.32,689 / -. Said aspect is not denied by the prosecution. Sudhir Gawande, the deceased, had no unpaid loans. . on his behalf. Even, according to the prosecution, Sudhir Gawande, the deceased, went to Bank of Maharashtra, Morshi Branch, Amravati District for a loan. If the previous loan amount is unpaid and the applicant, who is the branch manager of the said Bank, refuses to grant any other loan, can be considered an act of a vigilant and prudent banker and if he does not grant any other loan, it cannot be said that by a such act he incited and / or encouraged the person to commit suicide. “
Thus, the request was granted and the FIR registered against the requester was revoked and canceled.