Author: Pratishtha Vaidhya
Student of Indore Institute of Law, Indore
Suicide is an issue that we have always failed to discuss in schools or with people associated with us, even the close ones. Not being able to talk about your problems and thoughts properly leads to only one solution, depression, then suicide.
As per the reports by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), India reported an average of 381 deaths by suicide every day in 2019. An increase of 3.4 percent was noted in suicides in 2019 as compared to 2018 and 2017. According to the report, the suicide rate in India is highest in the age group of 15-30 years old people.
Suicide by hanging was 53.6 %, poison intake was 25.8%, drowning was 5.2%, and death by self burning was 3.8%. These were the main means of committing suicide.
Why do people commit suicide?
Family problems (excluding marriage) are the topmost reason for committing suicide (32.4 %). Other reasons like marriage problems, workload, etc., together weigh around 55% of the total suicide case in the country during 2019. Some other reasons that need to be discussed in detail are:
During the lockdown period, the stress level has been peaking with 43 percent of Indians suffering from Depression.
According to analysis, 26 percent of people suffer mild depression, 11 percent were experiencing moderate depression, and 6 percent were encountering terrible symptoms of depression. Not everyone kills themselves in depression. But it is a major reason to end life.
According to NCRB, about 28 students commit suicide every day in India. In the year 2019, 10,159 students died by suicide.
Kota has become the epicentre for student depression and suicides. Low grades, excessive pressure to clear examinations, negative environment, and several other reasons affect the mental health of students.
In adults, Workload, public outcast, financial issues, etc., might be the reasons for depression. But the suicide rate is comparatively lower in older people than in people of 15-30 years of age group.
Memories from the past or childhood memories like abuse, assault or rape, or any trauma that has left a severe impact on a person can be at great risk of suicide. These incidents may lead a person towards depression, then to suicide eventually.
Fear of loss
People think of ending their life when they face the following situations:
fear of failure
Fear of losing someone or something
fear of death because of chronic disease
job loss or financial loss, etc., can be the reason for suicide.
According to government statistics, more than 12,000 farmers commits suicide every year since 2015, in the country. Suicides in the farming section alone account for 9% approximately of the total deaths by suicide across India. As per NCRB, 10,281 farmers died by suicide in 2019. Whereas the number of deaths of daily wagers reached 32,559.
Loan debts, Loss in cultivation due to climate changes, changes in economic policies, inflated price of agricultural inputs, etc., can be the reasons for the increasing numbers of the farmer and daily wages suicide.
Parents send their students for preparations for competitive exams in different cities. Kota is very famous for its IIT JEE (Advanced) and NEET UG coaching. Students from all over India enter Kota for education. But pressure from every direction falls them apart. Expectations, competition, parental pressure, mental health conditions, etc. can be the reasons for student suicides.
At least one student dies by suicide every hour in India stated the Times of India report. The year 2019 recorded the most number of student suicides with 10,335 deaths, in the last two decades.
As per the law, section 309 of the Indian Penal Code deals with the attempt to suicide. The attempt to commit suicide states that whoever may attempt to commit suicide or any such offence will be rewarded with imprisonment by law. It may extend till one year or with a penalty or both.
In Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab, it was debated that section 309 infringe Article 21, which states that every individual has the right to live. Based on this, it was stated that if a person has the right to live then, he also holds the right to end his life. Though, it was immediately struck down stating that there are no reasons to hold that section 309 is unconstitutional.
The Mental Health Care Act, 2017
The mental Health Care Act, 2017, came into force on 7th April 2017. The purpose is to provide protection and care needed for the people suffering from mental illness. The motive for enacting this has been to spread the awareness that the attempt to take one's own life is the outcome of a psychiatric problem, which can be treated by proper medication, support, and counselling.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to take his own life must be presumed, unless otherwise proven, to have been under severe mental pressure. Thus, he shall not be liable for any punishment.
It is the government's responsibility to provide rehabilitation and treatment to the individual. This would reduce the chance of recurrence of such events.
Thus, suicide has now been decriminalized under the Mental Health Act, 2017. This act seeks the accused as a victim of mental illness. The act gives a different perspective on the offence of suicide.
Though section 309 has been decriminalized, it is still a part of IPC.
Suicide helplines in India
Aasra: Aasra is a Mumbai based 24*7 available organization, where trained people answer the calls to help people.
HELPLINE NUMBER: +91 98204 66726
Icall: Icall is a telephone and email-based organization, founded by the Tata Institute of social science. There are professionally trained people to help individuals overcoming their stress and thought of suicide.
Helpline Number: +91 22 2552111 and +91 91529 87821
Pain, agony, despair, failure all are a part of life. Every person faces issues in its life which hold them in time and stop them from moving ahead in life. But suicide is not a solution and it never will be. Our problem consumes us until we let it go. All we lack is a proper direction. Talking, a healthy lifestyle, reading a good positive book, listening to motivational personalities, meditation, yoga, etc., can help you to give a proper direction in your life.
1. Smt. Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab, (1996) 2 S.C.C. 648 (India)
Prakriti, Suicide Law in India, Legal Service Of India, (Oct. 10, 2020), http://www.legalserviceindia.com/legal/article-1423-suicide-law-in-india.html
Chethan Kumar, One every hour: At 10,335, last year saw most student suicides in 25 years, Times Of India, (Sept. 07, 2020, 10:39 AM), https://m.timesofindia.com/home/education/news/one-every-hour-at-10335-last-year-saw-most-student-suicides-in-25-years/amp_articleshow/77969096.cms
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