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Allahabad HC denies bail to Journalist for abatement of suicide

In a bail hearing for one Mr. Shameem Ahmad, co-editor of Daily Hindi Newspaper in Janma Prasaran Times, the court rejected his bail application and stated that “Journalist isn’t expected to dramatize horrifying incident and make news by putting his actor in danger of death”The facts of the case are that a landlord Zaved Khan wanted the now deceased Surendra Chakraborty to vacate the rented house. A case was already lodged against him for vacating the house. On 19th October 2020 Zaved started abusing him in filthy language and asked him to leave the house. When he told him his financial trouble and his inability to vacate the house, the landlord Zaved scoldingly asked him to “set himself ablaze and die, if he is not able to vacate the accommodation”.Journalist Shamim contacted the deceased Surendra and induced him to set himself ablaze in front of ‘Vidhan Sabha Bhawan’ so that they may filme the incident by videography and telecast the same on television. If it happens, the matter, so as planned will get highlighted and no one will force him to evict the house.

Later on, Surendra did the same, setting himself on fire and died consequent to that, while Shamim recorded it all.The counsel for the applicant submitted that the applicant and complainant did not know each other. Moreover, under Section 306 of the IPC a passing reference been made against any person would not be sufficient to invite the penalty. In order to constitute abatement for suicide, there must be course of conduct or any such actions of intentionally aiding or facilitating another person to end life, in the present case there is no evidence for the same.The State refuted these claims by showing evidence that established connection between the deceased and the applicant. The CCTV footage and the evidence of eye witness also proved how the journalist did not help the deceased and kept recording while the police tried to save him.

Moreover, the State submitted that his bail would adversely affect the witnesses in the case.The court held that Zaved the landlord cannot be indicted for abatement of suicide since the remark was made in passing and the deceased committed suicide after a few days of the remark and not immediately. On the other hand, the prima facie evidence against Journalist Shamim established the facts that he tempted the deceased to stage this death in front of the Legislative Assembly to stop Zaved from evicting him.The Court relied on the judgement of Sudha Singh v State of UP, which held that “…it is important for the courts to recognise the potential threat to the life and liberty of victims/witnesses, if such accused is released on bail.”, thereby denying bail to journalist Shamim Ahmad.

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