Supreme Court of India
Criminal Appeal No. 1164 of 2021
Geo Varghese vs. The State of Rajasthan & Anr.
The facts of the case are as follows: The appellant i.e. Geo Varghese was the physical training teacher in St. Xavier’s school for students from 1st to 5th standard. And the appellant was also a member of the Disciplinary Committee for maintaining overall discipline by the students of the school.
Nitant Raj Lata, a 14-year-old student of 9th class, unfortunately, committed suicide at 4:00 AM on 26.04.2018. The mother of the child filed an FIR on 02.05.2018 against the appellant under Section 306 Indian Penal Code i.e. Abetment to suicide.
The mother stated in the FIR that her son (Nitant) on 19.04.2018 informed her that his PTI GEO Sir (appellant) had harassed and insulted him in the presence of everyone. Then on 25.04.2018, the mother got a call from the school asking the parents to come to school the next day, and when her son (Nitant) returned from school he told her that again his PTI GEO sir had harassed him and insulted him in front of everyone. Then the mother told that child that they will go to school the next day and discuss it because they have got a call from school, then the child went under more pressure and tension, and then he was found hanging with the fan on the morning of 26.04.2018. The police after searching found the suicide note and curtain which was used for hanging.
The Appellant made a petition in the High Court of Judicature for Rajasthan at Jaipur under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure seeking the quashing of the First Information Report dated 02.05.2018 registered as Case No. 162 of 2018 at Police Station Sodala, Jaipur City. The High dismissed the petition and hence the following appeal was made against the Supreme Court.
The counsel for the appellant stated that by no means the reading of FIR states that the appellant has done anything to force the child to suicide also he presented the suicide note which consisted of three pages where on the first page it was written that “all my things goes to my dear bro kairen even my love bye buddy & sorry” on the second page “Needed Justice” and on the third and last page “Thanks GEO (PTI) of my School.”
The counsel merely stated that the suicide note does not prove anything. And also there is no personal reason for the appellant to allegedly harass the unfortunate boy.
Also, in the submissions made in the High Court, it was stated that the appellant is a PTI teacher and also a concerned member of Disciplinary Committee so it’s his duty to look for discipline in the school. The teacher found that the boy (Nitant) used to generally bunk the class and hence was warned by the appellant and other school staff a number of times. On 19.04.2018, the appellant caught the boy bunking classes and hence was warned by him, and again on the 25.04.2018 he was caught bunking classes and was warned again by the appellant and then the appellant complained it to the principal of the school, and hence the principal called the parents the next day.
The Supreme Court while deciding the case looked for various old judgments and cited different judgments for the meaning of abetment to suicide. In the case of S.S.Cheena vs.Vijay Kumar Mahajan and Anr. It was observed as under:-
“Abetment involves a mental process of instigating a person or intentionally aiding a person in doing of a thing. Without a positive act on the part of the accused to instigate or aid in committing suicide, conviction cannot be sustained. The intention of the legislature and the ratio of the cases decided by the Supreme Court are clear that in order to convict a person under Section 306 Indian Penal Code there has to be a clear mens rea to commit the offence. It also requires an active act or direct act which led the deceased to commit suicide seeing no option and that act must have been intended to push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide.”
The Supreme Court stated that in the following case, it was the duty of the teacher to scold the student for rules breaking, and hence the act of the GEO (PTI) of warning the deceased for bunking the class was not wrong. The court also said that there are no reasons or intention on the side of the appellant to force the deceased for suicide. The step that the minor child wrongfully took represents a hyper step and it could not have been foreseen by the teacher.
The Supreme Court also said that the High Court blatantly ignored all the facts of the case and decided which is not right. To conclude, the court said that it had condolence with the mother of the deceased child but the teacher is not wrong in this case. And hence the Supreme Court set aside the order passed by the High Court and quashed the FIR.