Karnataka: 11 years after acquittal by trial court, High Court sends man to jail for abetment of suicide
Shantha aka Shanthasetty was acquitted by a fast track court in Kollegala in 2011 for offences of abetment of suicide, intentional insult, voluntarily causing hurt, outraging the modesty of a woman and wrongful restraint
Bengaluru: A man acquitted by a trial court in 2011 for offences including abetment of suicide has been found guilty by the Karnataka High Court, which has sentenced him to seven years imprisonment, 11 years later.
Shantha aka Shanthasetty was acquitted by a Fast Track Court in Kollegala in 2011 for offences of abetment of suicide, intentional insult, voluntarily causing hurt, outraging the modesty of a woman and wrongful restraint. His quarrel with a woman in the village had forced her to take the extreme step on 12 June, 2008.
The High Court on 5 May, 2022 found that the lower court had based its judgment of acquittal on a hyper-technical essentiality of a doctor's certificate for the fit condition of the victim to give a dying declaration. The Trial Court failed to consider the Supreme Court wherein Their Lordships have opined that, the endorsement of the Doctor is not required if a person who recorded the dying declaration and the Doctor who treated the victim both have stated on oath that the deceased was fit to make statement, the High Court said while setting aside the acquittal.
The High Court judgement delivered by Justice S Rachaiah also says that the Trial Court also failed to appreciate the independent witnesses in the case. The HC sentenced Shanthasetty to seven years simple imprisonment for abetment of suicide, one year imprisonment for intentional insult, one year imprisonment for voluntarily causing hurt, four years imprisonment for outraging the modesty of a woman and four months imprisonment for wrongful restraint.
All sentences shall run concurrently, the court said.
The victim and Shanthasetty are from Kunthurmole village in Kollegal. The victim had earlier quarreled with Shanthasetty's wife. Shanthasetty picked up a fight with the victim over this issue. He dragged the woman by her nighty and caught her tuft and assaulted and abused her.
Insulted, the woman set herself on fire. The victim's husband who was nearby heard the quarrel, rushed to the spot and with help of villagers shifted her to a hospital. She succumbed to the injuries on 17 June, 2008. The victim wanted to make a statement before dying. A head constable recorded her statement and registered a case. The doctor treating her was a witness to the dying declaration. Subsequently a charge sheet was filed against Shanthasetty under several Sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 306 (Abetment of suicide).
Her comment came a day after Supreme Court in a landmark order put on hold the controversial sedition law till the Centre completes a promised review of the colonial relic and also asked the central and state governments not to register any fresh case invoking the act
The colonial-era sedition law has been invoked against the likes of author Arundhati Roy, student leaders Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid, and cartoonist Aseem Trivedi among others
In its significant order on the law that has been under intense public scrutiny, a bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana said there was a need to balance the interest of civil liberties and interests of citizens with that of the State