The Supreme Court on Tuesday said if a student is simply reprimanded by a teacher for an act of indiscipline and when the same conveyed to the parents to discipline the child, which results in child committing suicide, then teacher cannot be charged and tried for the offence of abetment of suicide under section 306 of the IPC.
In a judgment, a bench comprising justices S. Abdul Nazeer and Krishna Murari said, it is not uncommon that teachers reprimand a student for not being attentive or not being up to the mark in studies or for bunking classes or not attending the school. “The disciplinary measures adopted by a teacher, reprimanding a student for his indiscipline, in our considered opinion, would not tantamount to provoking a student to commit suicide, unless there are repeated specific allegations of harassment and insult deliberately without any justifiable cause or reason”, said the bench, adding that it is a solemn duty of a teacher to instill discipline in the students.
The bench noted that a simple act of reprimand of a student for his behaviour by a teacher, who is under moral obligations to inculcate the good qualities in a student, would definitely not amount to instigation or intentionally aid to the commission of a suicide by a student.
The top court made these observations while quashing an FIR filed against a physical training teacher of a school on charges of abetment to suicide.
A grade 9 student had died by suicide and left a note blaming the teacher. The mother lodged an FIR alleging that her son committed suicide due to mental harassment meted out by the teacher.
“Insofar as, the suicide note is concerned, despite our minute examination of the same, all we can say is that suicide note is rhetoric document, penned down by an immature mind”, noted the bench.
The bench said a criminal trial is not exactly a pleasant experience and the appellant who is a teacher would certainly suffer great prejudice, if he has to face prosecution on absurd allegations of irrelevant nature.
The teacher had found the boy regularly bunking classes, initially he reprimanded him but on account of repeated acts, brought this fact to the knowledge of the principal, who called the parents on telephone to come to the school. “No further overt act has been attributed to the appellant either in the First Information Report or in the statement of the complainant, nor anything in this regard has been stated in the alleged suicide note”, the bench noted, setting aside the Rajasthan High Court judgment, which refused to quash the FIR against the teacher.