JNU girl's friend acquitted of suicide abetment charge

Facing trial for allegedly driving his girlfriend Jayatri to commit suicide by uttering "ja suicide kar le (go, commit suicide)," West Bengal native Saikat Chanda was acquitted by Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court) Gurvinder Pal Singh, who held the girl "hypersensitive to ordinary petulance of domestic life."

The court also acquitted Saikat on the grounds that the girl's father had initially told the police that his daughter was upset over her failure in an examination and later accused Saikat of driving her to commit suicide by breaking his promise to marry her.

"It is not uncommon in love relation that either of the parties breaks his/her promise at some point of time...," said the court.

The judge also pointed out that "accused (Saikat) had not entered into wedlock nor contracted any ceremonies prior to wedlock with the deceased (Jayatri). The Constitution of India guarantees freedom to every individual. Two individuals can marry with own wishes, consent and free will."

In November 2004, Jayatri, a JNU Ph D student, had committed suicide by hanging herself after a heated argument with her boyfriend Saikat, whom she suspected of cheating on her after he had gone to join a Hyderabad-based software firm after leaving one in Gurgaon.

During a conversation with Saikat, Jayatri had allegedly threatened to commit suicide, to which he had relied: "Jaa suicide kar le (go, commit suicide)".

Minutes later, Jayatri sent an SMS to Saikat asking him to call her within two minutes or else she would commit suicide. The said message, however, was allegedly never received by Saikat.

The court held that "even if the words allegedly uttered by Saikat or his conduct was sufficient to demean or humiliate the deceased, it could not be proved that she was not left with any other alternative except to commit suicide.

"It so transpires that the deceased committing suicide was hypersensitive to ordinary petulance, discord and differences in domestic life quite common to the society to which she belonged," the court said.

Saikat and Jayatri became friends on Internet and later fell in love. Saikat even visited her family here in Delhi and had promised to marry her. Before leaving for Hyderabad, he had given a mobile phone to Jayatri and was in constant touch with her.

After the girl committed suicide, her father first told the police that she was upset over her failure in clearing the National Eligibility Test conducted by the University Grants Commission to determine the eligibility for lectureship.

But, in his formal complaint to the police some 20 days after the incident, the girl's father said his daughter's e-mail and SMSes suggested she had committed suicide after a heated exchange with Saikat as he had been cheating on her for another woman and had even told her to commit suicide.

The court, however, found contradictions in the initial police statement of Jayatri's father, mother and brother, their police complaint and their testimonies before it.

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