Suicide is a crime within the meaning of Article 309 of the IPC while it is not a crime within the meaning of Article 115 of the Mental Health Law. | Why the contradiction between our two laws on “suicide attempts”?

The Constitution of India gives every citizen of the country the right to live, but does not give anyone the right to end their life. It doesn’t matter that person’s financial, mental or health condition.

There has been a mutual contradiction in the laws of our country regarding attempted suicide. Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, i.e. the IPC, declares attempted suicide a crime, while section 115 of the Mental Health Act excludes it from the scope of crime. A petition has been filed with the Supreme Court regarding the contradiction of our country’s laws on attempted suicide. What did the court ask the central government about how a new law can go above the CPI? Also, how to justify the provision of a law which allows a person to commit suicide?

Under section 309 of the IPC, the person who attempted suicide is a criminal. For which there is a provision of one year imprisonment. On the contrary, Article 115 of the Mental Health Law defends the perpetrator of the suicide bombing, saying that a person tries to commit suicide under great stress, in such a case, he should not be punished like a criminal. Rather, the onus is on the government to treat, care for, and take steps to rehabilitate a person who attempts to commit suicide.

It should be noted here that the IPC is a 158-year-old law that came into effect in 1862. While the 2017 Mental Health Act came after the IPC, which came into effect in July 2018. It Ensures that our legislation is in line with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which the Indian government signed on December 13, 2006 and then enacted the Mental Health Act 2017 to protect the interests of people with disabilities in India.

If we look at the WHO report, he says one in five Indians suffers from general mental disorders and depression in their lifetime. The Law Commission, in its 210th report released on October 17, 2008, after studying various aspects of the crime of attempted suicide, said section 309 of the IPC should be abolished. Taking into account the recommendation of the Law Commission, the central government quoted the Home Office in Parliament on December 10, 2014 that our 18 states and 4 Union territories are in favor of abolishing the article 309 of the CPI, but to date, amend the CPI by amending section 309 is not finished.

We need to empathize with how a person manages to commit suicide. In our law, sending a person who has failed to commit suicide is a strange disposition. If the suicide attempt is successful, that person’s punishment is not prescribed by law, but if the suicide attempt is unsuccessful, that person is involved with the police and the courts. Is this supposed to happen?

The Himachal Pradesh High Court recently quashed the FIR filed in IPC Section 309 invoking Section 115 of the Mental Health Act 2017 in the case of attempted suicide and saved a person who was trying to commit suicide to go to jail.

It should also be noted here that survival is not just human, but every creature has a natural desire. No one wants to die of a hobby. The feeling of guilt also cannot dominate him in such a way that he becomes determined to kill his own life. Despite this, a person goes so far as to kill his life. He takes such an extreme step, who is completely depressed by the circumstances of his life or suffers from deep depression, depression or financial stress, family conflicts, misfortunes and any other reason for deciding to end his life . Takes.

Such an unhappy person who loses his life needs sympathy, advice and proper treatment. It is not appropriate to punish someone who has suffered pain and humiliation for attempting to kill themselves. The duty of a decent and sensitive system is to try to understand its situation and it does not have to eat prison food.

It is a law of nature that with changes over time there are changes in lifestyle, society and the law, this rule is quite acceptable. In such a situation, it should be noted once again that the CPI is a 158 year old law that came into effect in 1862, in which attempted suicide is a felony, in contrast, the health law. mental health came into effect in 2018, 156 years after the entry into force of the CPI. In other words, we have to understand and accept the change over time.

(Author: Mahesh Gupta is the Supreme Court reporter for Zee News.)
(The opinions expressed in this article are the personal views of the author.)

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