State of mind to commit a particular crime "must be visible" to determine the culpability for offence of abetment, the Supreme Court has said while setting aside the conviction of a man who was accused of abetting his wife's suicide in 1997.
The apex court said that ingredient of "mens rea" (intention) cannot be assumed to be ostensibly present but has to be "visible and conspicuous".
A bench headed by Justice N V Ramana said this while setting aside the March 2010 order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court which had upheld the trial court's verdict convicting the man for the offence under section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
"As in all crimes, mens rea has to be established. To prove the offence of abetment, as specified under sec 107 of the IPC, the state of mind to commit a particular crime must be visible, to determine the culpability," said the bench, also comprising Justices Surya Kant and Hrishikesh Roy.