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The increasing menace of suicides

Introduction

We all have witnessed students committing suicide. These suicides have become an increasing issue in today’s world. These suicides have become so normal for children as they find it a good and easy way to escape from this harsh world, expectations, and pressures, but they never think about what their parents will face. Parents do so much hard work just to give their children a better life but where the problem comes is the lack of communication. This lack of communication causes the students to take an erroneous step toward suicide.

What is suicide?

Suicide has not been defined anywhere in the Indian Penal Code, of 1860. It is the human act of intentional cessation of one’s life. In simpler words, it is an act of killing oneself. Mens rea, intention, is an important element in suicide.

Issues

The main problem that leads to such incidents is the lack of communication between parents and children. Parents in their care and love put so many expectations on children that the children get pressurized under these expectations. The mistake is neither of parents nor children, the mistake is of this mentality where everyone thinks that if someone scores less than 90% then he cannot do anything. No one ever tries to talk to children about what they want to do, they just put pressure on children to study and get a good grade, a good grade which is nowadays defined as nothing less than 90%, no one asks them whether they want to do something else. Everyone needs to understand that not all the children are same if some score good grades, then some are good in other activities also. Everyone knows about this fact but no one wants to implement it they just want their children to run in this mad race for grades and get a good job so that they get settled, but for living a good life only grades and jobs are not the only option. Jobs are only one aspect of this world but there are many other things that children can do for living their lives like sports, art, etc.

So, this is the issue that leads to such incidents. It also not ends here children fulfilling their parent’s desire just think they have to score above 90% but if they cannot do it, they don’t even dare to talk to them openly and tell them that this study is not at all my space, I want to be something else. This is the biggest mistake on part of the children that they think their parents would force them to get good grades only but they forget that parents can never think of bad for his/her child. The pressure they put is also due to this care and love only. No parents want their children to go away from them, they care for their children, not for his/her job. But keeping everything inside themselves creates bad mental health for children which leads to such incidents.

Suicides in India

India is the biggest contributor to worldwide suicides.[1] A total of 1,64,033 suicides were reported in the country during 2021 showing an increase of 7.2% in comparison to 2020 and the rate of suicides has increased by 6.2% during 2021 over 2020.[2]

According to the NCRB ADSI Report 2020, students took their own life every 42 minutes; that is, every day, more than 34 students died by suicide. Around 8.2% of students in the country die by suicide. The report also notes that 64,114 people under 30 years of age took their own lives.[3]

The main cause of this data is the mentality in India of getting good grades only and trying to be the best. Children just run in the race of getting good grades and forget to take care of their mental health due to which they have to suffer a lot in the latter time.

SUICIDE laws and strategy in India

Article 21– Article 21[4] gives a person protection to his life and personal liberty. According to this law, no person can be deprived of his life and personal liberty except according to the procedure established according to the law.

 Many people contested that Article 21[5] also contains the right to die, but in the Gian Kaur case, the Supreme Court held that Article 21[6] also contains the right to die but in the Gian Kaur case the Supreme Court held that the right to life under Article 21[7] did not include the right to die or the right to be killed.

Section 309 of IPC– This section of the Indian Penal Code deals with the crime of attempt to suicide. This section states that whoever attempts to end his life and does any act in furtherance of that objective shall be punished with imprisonment for a period which may extend to 1 year.[8]

The Mental Health Care Act 2017– This act does not revoke Section 309 of IPC[9] but merely provides a precondition for mental illness.

Section 306 of IPC– This section deals with abetment to suicide. Section 306[10] states that, “If any person commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of such suicide shall be punished with imprisonment of either imprisonment for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.”

The National Policy of Suicide Prevention– India launched its National Suicide Prevention Strategy (NSPS) on November 21, 2022. This is the first policy in India to make suicide prevention a public health priority. The strategy primarily aims to reduce suicide mortality by 10% by 2030 compared with 2020.[11]

CONCLUSION

As we have seen preventing suicide is not a big task, all it needs is open communication. If someone is feeling depressed, they should not take the path of suicide instead go and talk, which will improve their mental health. But, this small task of communication only is not able to be done. A person should take care of his mental health also along with his other goals and desires. If this issue of mental health problems solves then there would be no such incidents anymore. These suicide incidents can then be reduced and good mental health will be a blessing for everyone.

Author(s) Name: Anushk Garg (Dr. Ram Manohar Lohiya National Law University)

References:

[1] National Crime Records Bureau, Accidental deaths and Suicides in India (55th annual edition, 2021) 221 <https://ncrb.gov.in/sites/default/files/ADSI-2021/ADSI_2021_FULL_REPORT.pdf > accessed 17 April, 2023

[2] Ibid

[3] Sipoy Sarveswar and John Thomas ‘Academic Distress’ and Student Suicides in India: A crisis that needs to be Acknowledged’ (The Wire 2 June, 2022) <https://thewire.in/rights/academic-distress-and-student-suicides-in-india > accessed 17 April 2023

[4] Constitution of India 1950, art 21

[5] Ibid

[6] Ibid

[7] Ibid

[8] Indian Penal Code 1860, s 309

[9] Ibid

[10] Ibid

[11] ‘National Suicide Prevention Strategy’ (Ministry of Health and Family Welfare) <https://main.mohfw.gov.in/sites/default/files/National%20Suicide%20Prevention%20Strategy.pdf> accessed 17 April 2023