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Decriminalization of Attempt to Suicide: Mental Health Care Act, 2017

Attempt to Suicide is defined as a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with an intent to finish one self's life. The number of people who attempt to commit suicide in India and lose their lives is more than a lakh in number.

According to a GBD study, an estimate of 2,30,314 deaths due to suicide took place in India where the rates per 1,00,000 deaths were men of some 21-23 age bracket and women of some 14-20 age bracket. The GBD report reported cases which were more than 2,00,000 which contrasted to the reports which were released by NCRB, stating the rate of suicides in 2015 as 1,33,623.

A lot of the researchers suggest that one of the major causes of suicides is mental fatigue, stress and illness and most of the risk factors for attempted suicides by people of all ages is believed to be depression and other psychiatric causes. Other factors which constitute for attempt to suicide are mental or physical abuse as a child, high abuse of drugs or alcohol, stress due to work or stressful mental health environment etc.

Essentially, it is believed that the people who go ahead and make an attempt to end their lives, such people ae in need of psychiatric attention instead of punishment.

What Do You Understand By Suicide?

Suicide is the act of intentionally causing one's own death. The risk factors which are a major cause of Suicides, as believed by most experts, are majorly Psychological issues, such as: Anxiety disorders, Schizophrenia, Depression etc.

Suicides can be well-planned, but most suicides are impulsive decisions taken by the respective person and put into action. Suicides are commonly done by hanging oneself, poisoning and also includes usage of firearms.

About 1.5% of people commit suicide per year. This is about 12 per 100,000 people. Suicide is most commonly found in people over the age of 70; However, in some countries, people between the ages of 15 and 30 are most at risk[1]. In 2015, Europe had the highest suicide rate. An estimated 10 to 20 million non-fatal attempts are made each year[2]. Non-fatal suicide attempts can lead to injury and lead to long-term disability[3]. In the Western world, efforts are more frequent among young people and women.

If we talk about people's take on Suicide, it is frowned upon. This is the most easy and simple terms that one can put it in. most of these opinions are influenced by pride, religion that one follows and one's opinion of Life. People, in India, and any other country, believe that Committing Suicide is a cowardly behaviour and hence, one should think a million times before ending their life, just like that. In India, it is understood and believed by people that people who don't believe in God usually take steps as severe as these. The shraddha is what makes one understand the meaning of life and respect the sanctity of it[4].

Prevention of Suicide:
Suicide prevention is a term used to refer to collective efforts to reduce suicide rates through preventive measures. Suicide defense includes access to assistance and treatment[5]. About 60% of people with suicidal thoughts do not seek help. Reasons for not meeting this requirement include the need for less and the desire to solve the problem on one's own. Despite these high rates, there are many generally accepted treatments for suicidal behavior.

Methods of suicide prevention proposed in the 2003 monograph include:
  1. Avoiding Social Isolation
  2. Preventing Loss of Cultural Identity and Sanctity;
  3. Regular Psychological Check-ups;
  4. Proper regulation of Sales of Ropes and any other objects/chemicals (such as poison and pesticides) which can help in committing suicide;
  5. Encourage psychology and promotion of meditation sessions as well as yoga.
State policies are being implemented to reduce the high suicide rate among farmers in Karnataka[6].

Laws That Govern Attempt To Suicide In India

It is a well-known fact that society frowns upon the people who attempt to commit suicide but fail in doing so. It is a no hidden fact that people who commit suicide are looked at as aliens by he whole of society because they tried to end their life, but there a very few people who gather up the courage and go up to these people and ask them, Why?. I believe this is the where the society lags. We, as a society, have always failed to provide for people who have been going to some sort of mental health issues. It is now that we see people coming up and telling people how they have been visiting a therapist to keep their sanity intact.

In a country such as India, were Democracy is the power and people's rights are the supremacy. In a country where the constitution provides its citizens the Right to Life under Article 21, people who live with a mental illness, fear psychiatric evaluation and stress. Because the society will frown upon them, and if they attempt to commit suicide, the law will punish them for taking their own life.

Indian constitution is biased, it is no hidden fact as well. While it provides its citizens with the Right to Life under article 21, it does not even acknowledge something as Right to Die, hence making it abundantly clear that Right to Life does not include Right to Die, therefore, an attempt to suicide is not and can not be considered as living ones life as per the right to Life that the constitution provides. Therefore, if any person tries to end his/her life, they will be punished under the Law.

Up until 2017, a failed attempt to ending one's life was treated as a crime and the individual was punished under the said section.

People, however, have had contrary opinions regarding the issue of criminalization of attempt to suicide. In technical terms, Attempt to Suicide falls under the category of Offences affecting the Human Body. Crimes under this category include, murder, culpable homicide etc. such gruesome crimes which affect someone else's body. These crimes are inferred on the basis of intention and the circumstances. Even so, how vague does the law believe one's intentions of ending their life can be?

Punishing of people who tried ending their own life? It is the most gruesome treatment for the offence, if we are to agree on the term offence for the act. This further invites another question which has been asked and brought up is the manner and the treatment of such offenders. Where the court should be taking into consideration their mental health and get such people psychiatrically evaluated, they are being punished and asked to pay fines for the same. The question of inappropriate treatment and people who attempt to suicide being treated as offenders has been questioned as well.

In a landmark judgement of 1985, J. RA Jahagirdar stated four reasons for why section 309 should be constituted as unconstitutional. These reasons were stated as: unclear intention, temporary insanity, requirement of psychiatric care and no one knows or can agree to what constituted the suicide. The Delhi High Court, in the landmark judgment, said,
The continuance of Section 309 I.P.C. (criminalizing suicide) is an anachronism unworthy of a human society like ours.

The law of criminalizing suicide was first formulated under the Britishers, in India, in 1860. While the Britishers themselves de-criminalized the offence of attempt to suicide, India continued to follow this archaic law[7].

In a judgement delivered by Justice BL Hansaria in 1994[8], he traced and reiterated the trial as Persecution, wherein a woman, who was a rape victim, was forced onto the stand, in front of the entire court, for the offence of Attempt to Suicide which was committed by the woman. A physically assaulted woman, who went through the agony and pain and mental suffering which increased to the extend where she tried to take her own life, the law brought her and forced her on the stand to state the intentions of her act of taking her life and then follow up with the punishment because, she wasn't living her life in the manner that is permitted to the citizens under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.

Cases such as Maruti Shripati Dubal v. State of Maharashtra[9], Chenna Jagadeeswar v. State of Andhra Pradesh[10], Motion v. Yogesh Sharma[11] and many such cases that have been brought in front of the High Courts of the Respective states, have put the Bombay High Court, Delhi High Court and Andhra Pradesh High Court in dilemma. These are some of cases which have actively questioned the validity of section 309 and the same being violative of article 14 and article 12, respectively.

However, one such landmark judgement which challenged the constitutional validity of section 306 and whether section 309 of IPC was violative of article 14 and article 21 or not in Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab.[12] The prosecution cited the landmark case of P. Rathinam v. UOI and also argued the Right to Life should include Right to Die. However, the arguments and the petition were completely struck down by the Supreme Court stating that there were no valid grounds to for the same.

Section 306 of IPC punishes anyone who abets another person for committing suicide and Section 305 of the Indian Penal Code punishes anyone for abetment of suicide for a child.

De-Criminalization Of Attempted Suicides

The debate continues in favor of criminalization of suicide attempts, which have been fought in modern political and sociocultural times.

One of the major arguments is that only God has the right to direct the end of a person's life, and that when a person wants to end his life, it is a criminal act inherent in religious conduct. is. Traditionally, suicide has been criticized by religions around the world. Suicidal deaths are excluded from regular funerals in some ethnic groups. In Hinduism, it is believed that suicide death does not lead to salvation. In general, suicide is associated with the shame of death, social stigma, and other consequences of the entire dynasty[13].

But at the same time, many religions admire the need for suicide in certain circumstances or circumstances. Ancient Hindu theory of life has supported several suicides, including punishment for sins, incurable illness, and inability to fulfill religious obligations such as "sati" (jumping into the bonfire of a husband who died on a bonfire). Culturally widow suicide). Similarly, many Rajput women in India preferred death to post-war humiliation. Jainism upheld (Sarkana) the practice of ending one's life by one's actions in one case, and blamed it in another. The Buddhist view is unclear, but in some cases, it encourages altruistic suicide.

The Mental Health Care Act, 2017

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), health involves a complex combination of physical, psychological, psychological and social factors: enabling experience. Be creative and dynamic citizen. Mental health is very different from general health. In some cases, intellectual disabled people cannot make their own decisions. Mental illness lasts a lifetime, has lifelong consequences and gradually reduces the quality of life. Family members seek appropriate medical advice or treatment when trying to conceal their condition. This embarrassing behavior not only harms the patient but also leads to exploitation, abuse, neglect and alienation[14].

The Worldwide Stress on Illness Report shows that 13% of life-related disabilities are mental illnesses. I have lived with a disability for many years due to depression.

Mental illness accounts for more than half of the total burden on weaker age groups such as young people and the elderly. Another report on expected mental illness exposure shows India will grow faster than other countries. Over the next decade, it will account for a third of the world's mental illness exposure, more than the combined rates of all developed countries[15]. Unfortunately, despite this severe burden of mental health problems, this is not understood in developing countries like India.

Another important aspect of addressing this health issue is our existing infrastructure and workforce. In a country of 150 billion people, there are about 40 psychiatric hospitals (only 9 of which are equipped to treat children) and fewer than 26,000 beds. India has only three psychiatrists per million or fewer, according to the WHO Mental Health Atlas. p is the federal standard for psychologists. All 100,000 residents are doctors.

The Lok Sabha unanimously passed the Mental Health Act 2017, passed unanimously on March 27, 2017, which was passed by the Rajya Sabha in August 2016 and approved by the Honorary President of India in April 2017. Under the new law, "mental illness" is a significant condition of thinking, mood, impression, direction, or memory, which highlights the mental state associated with the determination or ability to meet the basic needs of life, alcohol and drug use is.

The Medical Act of 1987 has been widely criticized for denying the rights of the mentally ill and paving the way for the exclusion of such sick patients. The Act repealed the 309 Indian Penal Code for criminal offenses. Suicide of a mentally handicapped person. Another feature of the law is the protection of the rights of people with mental illness, thus making access to treatment and the possibility of its occurrence easier. How he wants to treat his illness[16].

Rights of Persons with Mental Illness:
Everyone has the right to access mental health services. Such services should be of high quality, convenient, affordable and affordable. The law reserves the right to inhumanely treat such persons, to prevent access to free legal services and their medical records, and to file a complaint in case of violation of prior notice.

Purpose: To give advance notice to the mentally ill person on how he wants to be treated and to whom he is assigned. Doctors need to confirm this referral.

Mental Health Facilities All mental health professionals (clinical psychologists, nurses, psychiatrists) and all mental health laboratories must be registered with this facility.

These agencies:
register, inspect and register all mental health facilities, development of quality and service standards for such facilities, maintain a register of mental health professionals, train law enforcement officers and mental health professionals on the provisions of the law, receive complaints about defects of TOS, advise the government on mental health issues.

Prohibition of Electroconvulsive Therapy:
It denies attempted suicide for the mentally ill. The government is also obliged to rehabilitate the person so that the suicide attempt does not recur. People with mental illness should not receive electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) without the use of muscle relaxants and anesthesia. In addition, ECT therapy is not given to minors.

De-criminalization of Attempt to Suicide:
In spite of the provisions of Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, Section a hundred and fifteen of the Mental Healthcare Act states that anybody who commits suicide, except proved otherwise, will be taken into consideration to be going thru a few excessive strains and could now no longer be prosecuted. To lessen the chance of repeated suicide tries, the in a position the authority has the obligation to offer care, remedy, and rehabilitation for someone who suffers from excessive strain and tries to dedicate suicide. It indicates how the introduction of the Act enabled the touchy care of suicidal sufferers who have been mentally disturbed and left out their well-being.

Responsibility of Different Businesses Recommended:
If there's the purpose to consider that someone with intellectual contamination is being abused or left out, the police officer in price of the police station has to file to the magistrate. The responsibility of protective any wandering individual is imposed at the police in the price of the police station; This individual could be tested through a clinical representative and could be admitted to an intellectual fitness status quo primarily based totally in this take a look at or taken to his domestic or homeless status quo.

Punishment: The penalty for violating the provisions of this regulation is imprisonment for up to six months or a great of Rs 10,000. Or both. For repeat offenders, imprisonment for up to two years or a great of Rs 50,000 five lakh or both.

Critical Analysis Of The Act

The 2017 Mental Health Care Act goals to offer intellectual fitness offerings to humans with intellectual infection. Ensure that those humans have proper, dignified lifestyles without discrimination or harassment. The invoice has many positive/positive components; however, it isn't without its drawbacks and is in reality now no longer apparent withinside the Indian context. We'll take a better have a take a observe a number of them here.

The regulation offers for the proper to stay a dignified-lifestyles, no matter gender, religion, tradition, or caste. Everyone has the proper confidentiality and remedy. Due to the brand-new rules, ECT does now no longer must be carried out without anesthesia and ECT will now no longer be carried out on minors. Such sufferers aren't sterilized, saved intracellularly, or quarantined. The regulation lets all people get admission to intellectual fitness offerings.

The motive of this properly is to make sure the availability, acceptability, and excellent of the service. Mental fitness offerings want to be installed and to be had in all elements of the country. However, county and sub-district degree fitness care infrastructure is not up-to-date, and until the crucial authorities spend extra on its price range, the economic burden at the country authorities could be lots greater.

The idea of superior administrators lets in sufferers to govern sure components in their remedy. However, in contrast to in advanced international locations, elements inclusive of lack of knowledge of intellectual fitness sources and intellectual infection are neglected withinside the Indian region. People with extreme intellectual infection do now no longer constantly have the capabilities to make the proper decisions, and that they do now no longer constantly have a household to speak to. In such cases, it's far great to pick remedy due to the fact the affected person or their assigned consultant has confined information of intellectual fitness and intellectual infection.

So, from a scientific perspective, this new directive will certainly boom sanatorium remains for humans with intellectual infection. The regulation acknowledges the proper to network lifestyles. The proper to stay in dignity. Protection from cruel, inhuman, or degrading remedy; Types of humans with bodily infection; Information on remedy rights, different rights, and actions. Right to privacy; Right to get admission to the supply file.

The proper to private touch and communication; The proper to mutual prison aid; And guard yourself against shortcomings in supplying care, remedy, and offerings. However, we do now no longer have an estimate of the prices required to fulfill our prison obligations. It isn't clear how those finances could be dispensed among the crucial authorities and the country authorities.

The regulation ensures loose and excellent remedies for humans residing beneath the homeless or poverty line (BPL), even though they do now no longer have a BPL card. In Japan, in which intellectual infection is taken into consideration synonymous with depression, the obvious economic burden of the authorities is enormous. For the 2017-18 financial year, the proposed scientific prices constitute 1.2% of India's GDP. It is one of the lowest withinside the global and public fitness spending has been progressively declining due to the fact 2013-2014. India spends 0.06% of its fitness price range on psychiatric care, appreciably much less than Bangladesh's (0.44%).

According to a 2011 World Health Organization report, maximum advanced international locations spend extra than 4% in their price range on research, infrastructure, and intellectual fitness workers. The new regulation has a few provisions, however does now no longer encompass suggestions or implementation. The new creation of decriminalizing suicide is truly a welcome step.

This recruitment may be abused. However, withinside the case of a Dowley funeral/homicide try, it is able to be distorted as a suicide try and isn't a assurance of caution. In growing international locations like India, intellectual infection and its circumstance are exacerbated through socio-monetary and cultural elements inclusive of a loss of scientific care, myths, ignorance, stigma, and discrimination. The calculation does now no longer take those components into account. The intellectual fitness invoice prevents and forestalls early on.

Issues And Challenges That Can Be Faced Due To/For Mental Health Care Act, 2017

Although the proposed Mental Health Care Act could be carried out in India withinside the close to future, a few topics want similarly consideration. Article 124 states that someone is exempt from "punishment", however now no longer from "proceedings". Police can arrest someone who tries suicide and the regulation states that "the person that tried suicide had intellectual infection".

Justice the Peace has the energy to make sure that someone with intellectual infection is stated a public intellectual fitness business enterprise for assessment/remedy (as in line with Section 111 of the Bill) for 10 days. Therefore, those who try suicide will hesitate to are searching for a remedy after trying suicide due to the fact they worry that they may be institutionalized in opposition to themselves. Other issues may additionally stand up concerning the misuse of the above provisions, inclusive of Attempted suicide withinside the face of home violence.

It is disputed whether or not it must be tried as a part of a try and dedicate suicide (as a part of the Mental Health Act with numerous amendments), with a better have a take a observe numerous arguable issues. As the respectable role shifts from the prison version to the scientific version of suicide try, making intellectual fitness care reachable to all who try suicide becomes a critical political issue. Patients providing with a suicide try must constantly be recommended for mental assistance. As a result, there's a large want for the sources had to enhance number one intellectual fitness offerings in all areas of the country.

Further improve public fitness techniques to suicide prevention, together with consciousness-raising, restricting get admission to normally used lethal strategies of suicide (insecticides, prescription drugs), and controlling elements inclusive of alcohol. you need to do it. A powerful framework must be advanced that integrates intellectual fitness with social offerings, schooling, and different applicable sectors.

Other Countries That Have De-Criminalized Suicides In The Past

In ancient Athens, a person who had committed suicide (without government approval) was usually refused a funeral. The man has buried alone on the outskirts of town with no cemetery or marking[17]. A penal ordinance issued by Louis XIV in 1670 was more severe in its punishment: the corpses of the dead were carried through the streets undercover and then thrown in the garbage. Has been or has been thrown away. In addition, all of this person's property was confiscated[18].

The Suicide Burial Act of 1823 removed the legal requirement to bury suicide bombers at an intersection in England.[19]

Most legal positions against suicide come from St. Augustine's declaration that suicide is a sin (354-3430). In the past, the influence of religious institutions has played a key role in creating a legal position to criminalize suicide attempts. After the French Revolution and other social changes in Europe, attitudes towards suicide, and suicide attempts began to change gradually[20]. During the 19th and 20th centuries, most industrialized countries condemned suicide attempts, but some countries, including India, condemned suicide attempts. In countries where suicide attempts have been made, belonging to two key areas is considered a felony.

Countries with Criminalization of Attempted Suicide:
The place of North Africa and the place of South Asia. In the African place, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda are the various international locations presently convicted of non-deadly suicide. In Rwanda, for example, someone who commits a non-deadly suicide may be sentenced to two-five years in jail if convicted. In Uganda, non-deadly suicide is a crime punishable by up to 2 years in jail. Ghana's Criminal Code (Law 29, 1960) does now no longer criminalize deadly suicide. In Uganda, non-life-threatening suicide conduct is a crime punishable through up to two years in jail.

The Ghana Penal Code (Law 29 of 1960) criminalizes suicide with deadly results. In South Asia place, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, and Bangladesh are the various international locations that criminalize suicide attempts. A guy who tried suicide in Singapore might be jailed for as much as a year. Moreover, North Korea criminalizes suicide with a superb barrier that could penalize family and family of suicide withinside the shape of mass punishment. Countries that try suicide try to criminalize suicide, the concept of suicide, and once in a while planned self-harm.

Countries with Decriminalization of Attempted Suicide:
Countries that have attempted suicide are committing suicide, committing suicide, and sometimes deliberately harming themselves.

Suicide survivors in Victoria, Australia, could be charged with genocide and could have helped another person commit suicide. Incitement to suicide is a crime in New Zealand, and incitement to suicide in Russia is punishable by up to five years in prison. Attempted suicide in Ireland in 1993, but suicide is not considered a suicide attempt.

Suicide and attempted suicide are not criminal offenses under Roman-Dutch law. Some U.S. states (Alabama, Oregon, and South Carolina) have laws for suicidal treaties, subsidiaries, and partners and for insurance purposes. Some South Asian countries, including Sri Lanka, Indonesia, the Maldives, and Thailand, do not condemn suicide attempts.

Currently, the World Health Organization has identified 59 countries in the world that have de-criminalized suicide.[1] As can be seen from above, suicide attempts were carried out mainly in Europe, North America, South America, and parts of Asia.

Suicide attempts have been recognized as of late in countries affected by Commonwealth law. Similarly, the involvement of attorneys and coroners in suicide screening is higher than in continental Europe and Scandinavian regions in these countries. The doctors are allowed to certify suicidal deaths without any legal liability or, legally[2].
Some of the major countries which Decriminalized Suicide is depicted in the following table:
S. No. Year Of Decriminalization Name Of Country Certification
(Without Reference To Legal Authority)
2 Germany 1751 Yes
3 France 1791 Yes
4 Norway 1842 -
5 Finland 1910 -
6 Sweden 1864 -
7 England, Wales 1961 No
8 USA No
9 Hong Kong 1967 No
10 New Zealand 1961 No
11 Canada 1972 No
12 Sri Lanka 1998 -
13 Australia   No
14 India 2017 No

The new Mental Health Care Act of 2017 pursuits to alternate the essential method to intellectual fitness problems, which includes clever patient-targeted care rather than peace-targeted care. The pointers must be reviewed on problems along with number one prevention, reintegration, and rehabilitation, as their implementation could be incomplete without such reinforcement and the trouble of former sufferers with intellectual contamination persists.

So, for positive reasons, we should wait and reveal the implementation. In conclusion, it must be cited that the latest steps taken to decriminalize suicide in India are commendable, however, had been long delayed. Decriminalization will lessen accidents and capacity harassment following a suicide try. However, we want to enhance the great of intellectual fitness and create a basis for the transport of primary intellectual fitness offerings to all who try suicide.

  1. World Health Organization (WHO) Suicide prevention, (2012
  2. Suicide as a crime in the UK: legal history, international comparisons, and present implications, Neeleman J, Acta Psychiatr Scand (1996) Oct.
  3. Preventing suicide: a global imperative, WHO, 2014
  4. Bertolote JM, Fleischmann A (October 2002). "Suicide and psychiatric diagnosis: a worldwide perspective". World Psychiatry
  5. Chang B, Gitlin D, Patel R (September 2011). "The depressed patient and suicidal patient in the emergency department: evidence-based management and treatment strategies". Emergency Medicine Practice
  6. God, Religion, Science, Nature, Culture, and Morality. Archway Publishing. 2014
  7. "Suicide Risk and Protective Factors/ Suicide/ Violence Prevention/ Injury Centre/CDC, 25 April 2019
  8. Deshpande, R S (2002), Suicide by Farmers in Karnataka: Agrarian Distress and Possible Alleviatory Steps, Economic and Political Weekly
  9. State vs Sanjay Kumar Bhatia, 1986 (10) DRJ 31
  10. P. Rathinam v. Union of India, 1994 SCC (3) 394
  11. Maruti Shripati Dubal v. State of Maharashtra, 1987 BomCR (1) 499
  12. Chenna Jagadeeswar and another v. State of Andhra Pradesh, 1988 Crl.L.J.549
  13. Court on Own Motion v. Yogesh Sharma, 1986 RLR 348
  14. Smt. Gian Kaur vs The State of Punjab, 1996 SCC (2) 648
  15. Yadwad BS, Gouda HS. Is attempted suicide an offence? J Indian Acad Forens Medical (2005)
  16. Nagaraja DN, Murthy P. Mental Health Care and Human Rights; 1st ed. New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission, (2008)
  17. Mental Illness India's Ticking Bomb Only 1 in 10 Treated; Lancet Study (2016)
  18. Mental Healthcare Bill Decriminalizes Suicide Attempt Passed by Parliament, Hindustan Times (2017)
  19. Plato. Laws, Book IX
  20. Durkheim, mile (1897). Suicide. New York: The Free Press (reprint, 1997
  21. Also called the Felo de se Act 1823, the Interments (felo de se) Act 1823, the Burials (Felo de se) Act 1823, and the Suicide Act 1823.
  22. Sareen H, Trivedi JK. Legal implication of suicide problems specific to South Asia. Delhi Psychiatry J. 2009
  23. World Health Organization (WHO) Suicide prevention, (2012)
  24. Suicide as a crime in the UK: legal history, international comparisons and present implications, Neeleman J, Acta Psychiatr Scand (1996) Oct.

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