Suicidal laws in India

The rate at which suicidal deaths are increasing in the world is creating a topic of concern. During the year 2020, there has been approximately 230,314 recorded cases of suicide in the world between the age group of 15-39 years of age.

On an average, there are around 800,000 cases of suicide every year and around 135,000 of it are from India which is 1.7% of it. On the other hand, from the year 1987-2007, the suicidal rate of 7.9 increased to 10.3 out of 100,000 people and most of the registered cases comes from southern and eastern region of India. This is because there is a lack of awareness or knowledge.

Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code

According to the legislation, section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, deals with committing suicide. Attempt to commit suicide states that whoever tries to commit suicide or attempts to adopt any act toward the fee of such an offense, could be punished below the regulation with imprisonment which lasts for a time period which could amplify up until 1 year or with a fine or with both.

However, because of the especially debatable element of this regulation and with new cognizance for intellectual health problems and the normalization of the same, this Section has come below scrutiny for lots of humanitarian reasons.

The controversy of Section 309

There had been one-of-a-kind perspectives concerning the constitutionality of section 309 of the IPC. In the case between The State of Maharashtra V. Maruti Sripati Dubal (1986) 88 Bom LR 589, the Bombay High Court held that right to die is blanketed under ‘right to life ‘ and consequently section 309 violates the Fundamental Rights of the citizens, so section 309 is unconstitutional.

But on the opposite hand, withinside the case of Chenna Jagdeshwar V. State of Andhra Pradesh (1988) cr LJ 549, the high court of Andhra Pradesh held that right to die isn’t an essential right withinside the means of Article 21 of the Indian Constitution and consequently, section 309 of the IPC isn’t unconstitutional.

These different perspectives of the High courts became settled via way of means of a division bench of the apex court in P. Rathinam V. Union of India (1994) 3 SCC 394, The Supreme court held that perspectives expressed via way of means of the Bombay High Court is right and said that someone has a right to die and declared section 309 unconstitutional. However, the choice of the apex court raised many questions. To offer a little clarity, the constitution bench of the Supreme Court in Gian Kaur V. State of Punjab (1996) 2 SCC 648 held that Article 21 of the constitution does now no longer consists of the right to die or the right to be killed. The court held made it clear that the right to life along with the right to live with human dignity could imply the existence of this sort of right up to the end of natural life. The right to die with dignity at the end of life isn’t to be confused with the right to die an unnatural dying curbing the natural span of life.

The court consequently held that section 309 of IPC isn’t violative of Article 21 of the constitution and subsequently settled that Section 309 of the IPC is constitutional and it does now no longer violate Article 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The Mental Healthcare Act, 2017

The Mental Healthcare Act was enacted on 7th April 2017, with a purpose to offer safety and much-needed respite to people affected by any mental ailments which have become common nowadays. The essential point of enacting this act is to unfold much needed awareness that any attempt on one’s very own lifestyle is the end result of psychiatric trouble in which the dopamine and serotonin levels of the mind lower to such a volume that it’s result in an imbalance inflicting extreme melancholy and downward spiralling thoughts.

Regardless of the provisions of section 309, of the Indian Penal Code, any person who tries to commit suicide ought to be presumed, unless otherwise proven, to had been below severe mental duress and pressure and for this reason, shall not be vulnerable to face any punishment for the same. It is the obligation of the appropriate Government to offer care, treatment, and rehabilitation to this character, having extreme pressure because of which she or he tried to devote suicide. This is done to reduce the hazard of recurrence of such an attempt to devote suicide again. Therefore, suicide has now been efficaciously decriminalized under the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

The current condition of Section 309 and it’s Punishment
The Mental Healthcare Act (MHCA), 2017, which got into force in 2017, has substantially decreased the scope for using Section 309 IPC as a crook offense and has only made the punishment beneath the stated section an exception and now no longer the actual law.

As said earlier, section 115(1) of The MHCA states that ‘’Notwithstanding’’ something contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code any person who attempts to commit suicide will be presumed, until proved otherwise, to have extreme stress and shall now no longer be attempted and punished beneath the stated Code.

Also, section 115(2) says that the appropriate Government shall have a responsibility to offer care, remedy, and rehabilitation to an individual, having extreme stress and who tried to dedicate suicide, to lessen the danger of recurrence of trying to dedicate suicide again.

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