Tag Archives: instigation

Sentencing for Crimes – Tests for

Sentencing for crimes has to be analysed on the touchstone of three tests, viz., crime test, criminal test and comparative proportionality test. Crime test involves factors like extent of planning, choice of weapon, modus of crime, disposal modus (if any), role of the accused, anti-social or abhorrent character of the crime, state of victim. Criminal test involves assessment of factors such as age of the criminal, gender of the criminal, economic conditions or social background of the criminal, motivation for crime, availability of defence, state of mind, instigation by the deceased or any one from the deceased group, adequately represented in the trial, disagreement by a Judge in the appeal process, repentance, possibility of reformation, prior criminal record (not to take pending cases) and any other relevant factor (not an exhaustive list).         Under the crime test, seriousness needs to be ascertained. The seriousness of the crime may be ascertained by (i) bodily integrity of the victim; (ii) loss of material support or amenity; (iii) extent of humiliation; and (iv) privacy breach. State of Madhya Pradesh v. Udham, (2019) 10 SCC 300.

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Instigation to Commit Suicide

In Chitresh Kumar Chopra v. State , (2009) 16 SCC 605 the Apex Court while dealing with the term “instigation” held:
“Instigation is to goad, urge forward, provoke, incite or encourage to do ‘an act’. To satisfy the requirement of ‘instigation’ though it is not necessary that actual words must be used to that effect or what constitutes “instigation’ must necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the consequence. Yet a reasonable certainty to incite the consequence must be capable of being spelt out. Where the accused had, by his acts or omission or by a continued course of conduct, created such circumstances that the deceased was left with no other option except to commit suicide, in which case, an ‘instigation’ may have to be inferred. A word uttered in a fit of anger or emotion without intending the consequences to actually follow, cannot be said to be instigation.
Thus to constitute ‘instigation’, a person who instigates another has to provoke, incite, urge or encoureg the doing of an act by the other by ‘goading’ or ‘urging forward’. The dictionary meaning of the word ‘goad’ is a thing that stimulates someone into action; provoke to action or reaction, to keep irritating or annoying somebody until he reacts.”
The court in Ramesh Kumar v. State of Chhattisgarh, (2001) 9 SCC 618 while dealing with a similar situation observed that what constitutes “instigation” must necessarily and specifically be suggestive of the consequences. A reasonable certainty to incite the consequences must be capable of being spelt out. More so, a continued course of conduct is to create such circumstances, that the deceased was left with no other option but to commit suicide.
The offence of abetment by instigation depends upon the intention of the person who abets and not upon the act which is done by the person who has abetted. The abetment may be by instigation, conspiracy or intentional aid as provided under Section 107 IPC. However, the words uttered in a fit of anger or omission without any intention cannot be termed as instigation.
It is apparent that instigation has to be gathered from the circumstances of a particular case. No straitjacket formula can be laid down to find out as to whether in a particular case there has been instigation which forced the person to commit suicide. In a particular case, there may not be direct evidence in regard to instigation which may have direct nexus to suicide. Therefore, in such a case, an inference has to be drawn from the circumstances and it is to be determined whether circumstances which had been such which in fact had created the situation that a person felt totally frustrated and committed suicide. Praveen Pradhan v. State of Uttaranchal

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