Case Brief: Gian Kaur vs State of Punjab

Brief Details:

  • Relevant Citation: 1996 AIR 946
  • Decided on: 21st March, 1996
  • Court: Supreme Court of India
  • Judge Bench: Justice JS Verma, Justice NP Singh, Justice Faizanuddin, Justice Nanavati G.T.

Facts of the Case:

In this case Gian Kaur (petitioner) and her husband Harbans Singh were convicted for the offence of abetment to suicide of their daughter-in-law, Kulwant Kaur. The Trial Court had convicted both under Section 306[1] of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. The trial court sentenced both of them with a rigorous imprisonment for a term of 7 years along with a fine of Rs. 2,000/- and in case they fail to make the payment, their imprisonment will be extended by 9 months. The petitioner approached the High Court against the judgement of the trial court. The High Court upheld the judgement of the trial court. However, the punishment given to Gian Kaur was reduced to 3 years from 7 years. The punishment of her husband remained unchanged. After the judgement of the High Court, the petitioners approached the Supreme Court by filing a special leave petition challenging their conviction. The Constitutionality of Section 306 was also challenged as it violated the fundamental granted under Article 21[2] of the Indian Constitution.

Issue Raised:

  1. Whether Section 306 of Indian Penal Code, 1860 is constitutionally valid?
  2. Whether Section 309[3]of Indian Penal Code, 1860 violates Article 14[4]and 21 of the Indian Constitution?
  3. Whether “Right to Life” under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution includes “Right to Die”?


The Supreme Court held that section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 does not violate Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as “right to die” is not included in its scope. The court also held that section 309 was not violative of Article 14 of the Indian Constitution on the grounds being arbitrary in nature. The court also upheld the validity of Section 306 of IPC, 1860. The court was of the view that abetment and attempt to commit suicide are two separate offences and hence Section 306 will exist even without Section 309 of IPC, 1860. The court also held that “right to life” does not include “right to die.”

[1] (Last Visited on 8th August, 2021 at 12:05 PM)

[2] (Last Visited on 8th August, 2021 at 12:32 PM)

[3] (Last Visited on 8th August, 2021 at 12:45 PM)

[4] (Last Visited on 8th August, 2021 at 1:15 PM)

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