While confirming the accusation under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code, the Supreme Court stated that an accused cannot be exonerated for an offence under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
In this instance, a married woman attempted suicide just after 15 months of marriage, leaving behind two suicide letters The complainant/father deceased’s filed a Complaint against spouse, as well as his father-in-law and mother-in-law, alleging violations of Sections 304B, 306, 498A, 406, 506 read with Section 34 IPC and Sections 3 and 4 of the Dowry Prohibition Act. The deceased person mother-in-law and father-in-law were later cleared of the charge under Section 306 IPC, but the charges under Section 304B IPC and the Dowry Prohibition Act were upheld by the High Court.
It was argued before the Supreme Court that once charges under Section 304B IPC were filed, the charge under Section 306 IPC could not be dropped because the deceased’s suicide notes and witness statements existed, and the in-laws could not have been cleared of the offence under Section 306 IPC based on their examination. They claimed that in a particular instance where a charge under Section 306 IPC is made, a party can be dismissed under Section 304B IPC, but not the other way around, citing Bhupendra vs. State of Madhya Pradesh – (2014) 2 SCC 106 as authority.
After hearing learned counsel parties, taking into account the totality of the circumstances, as well as the suicide notes and witness statements, we are of the opinion that the accused should not have been discharged of the offence under Section 306 IPC, especially since charges under Section 304B IPC and other related sections had already been framed and confirmed, the bench ruled.