Blackmailing by jilted lover can be abetment of suicide: HC

Mumbai: A threat by a jilted lover to "destroy" a girl's life which leads to her suicide is a clear case of abetment of suicide, the Bombay High Court has held.

Devesh Datta Pathrikar had filed a petition seeking discharge from the case of abetment of suicide against himself and his parents.

According to police, Sangeeta (name changed) committed suicide on December 30, 2005, allegedly because Devesh was blackmailing her.

The duo knew each other for a while and were in a love relationship for some time. However, when Sangeeta refused to marry him, Devesh allegedly threatened to "destroy her life".

He also said that he would publish his and Sangeeta's photographs to ruin her marriage prospects.

Later Sangeeta committed suicide, blaming Devesh in the suicide note. Devesh and his parents were booked for abetment of suicide in 2006.

Devesh then filed a petition in the High Court, challenging framing of charges against him and his parents.

His lawyer argued that he had no intention to make the girl end her life.

However, rejecting his plea, Justice A V Nirgude of Aurangabad bench of the High Court held that Devesh certainly intended to "show these photographs to the boys who would consider the girl's proposal for marriage. The existence of these photographs had a terrible effect on her mind".

Mentioning that the girl was from a conservative background, the judge noted that "she felt trapped and chose to end her life".

This attempt to blackmail her through the photographs would amount to "abetment of suicide" as defined in the IPC, the Court held.

"Prima facie, it is seen that the petitioner's (Devesh's) intention was to finish her as a person," the court said. However, while allowing Devesh's trial to proceed, the court held that his parents had committed no offence, and should be discharged.