The World Health Organization (WHO) in its statement has declared that approximately 8,00,000 people die of suicide every year. This indicates that for every 40 seconds one person dies by performing suicide. There are several causes for which people perform suicide. One of the principal purposes of suicide is psychic disorder and anxiety. On analyzing suicide tries and death by suicide, an effort to suicide is 25 times higher than that of the persons who die by performing suicide each year.

India is a nation with a community of nearly 1.3 billion. An earlier effort to suicide was an illegal action and the person who is performing the same was punished according to the Indian Penal Code, 1860. On examining the principal causes of performing suicide, the National Crime Record’s Bureau has declared significant causes for the improvement in the amount of suicide and attempt to suicide. Some of these causes involve sickness, dowry dispute, drug misuse or drug addiction, breakdown in exams, family difficulties, love relationships, hunger, unemployment, death of loveable souls, insolvency, or changes that need place swiftly in financial status, etc.

The World Health Organization in the year 2019 has declared that India has the greatest suicide percentage when associated with other nations in the Southeast Asian region. The WHO measures of 2016 stated that the female suicidal standard in India is the third-largest in the world i.e. 14.7. This statement has also declared that globally more than 50% of suicides are performed by people under the age group of 45 years. Moreover, it asserts that 90% of teenagers who performed suicide applied to low and middle-income countries.

Methods of Performing Suicide

The word ‘Suicide’ was obtained from the Latin phrase ‘Suicidium’ indicating “to kill oneself”. The characters who commit suicide use various techniques that are the centers to kill oneself. Some of those techniques cover suicide by drowning, electrocution, hanging, fire, falling from a height, consumption of poison such as pesticides, medicine excess, diving in front of vehicles such as trains, etc. The most used means of suicide is self-poisoning which is common often in rural farming regions. Information concerning the means of performing suicide is more prominent. This is because, only by understanding these systems, one can take precautionary steps to prevent suicide by limiting entrance to those centers by which suicide is performed.


In India, as denoted out earlier, the percentage of suicide is on the growth every time. Concerning the legislation concerning suicide, the Indian Penal Code which was established in the year 1860 has prerequisites concerning penalization for abetment of suicide of a minor or sick person, abetment of suicide, and strive to commit suicide. From the year 1860, an effort to suicide was viewed as an illegal crime and the person who strives to perform suicide or does any act which points to the performance of such crime are responsible and they shall be punished with mere custody for a course which may increase to one year or with fine or with both.

Likewise, abetment of suicide of child or sick person is also a culpable crime and the person who abets shall be penalized with death or life arrest or arrest for a term not surpassing 10 years and the person shall also be subject to fine. Moreover, punishment is also presented to the abetment of suicide in the Indian Penal Code. Thus the Law criminalizes suicide, effort to suicide, and abetment of suicide.

Succeeding, the Government of India has declared the Mental Health Care Act, 2017. This Act was enacted on April 7, 2017, but came into power only on May 29, 2018. Below this Code, an effort to die by suicide is bartered with under Section 115. This section says that ‘notwithstanding anything included in Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 any person who tries to die by performing suicide, they shall be considered to be under rigorous pressure and they shall not be judged and sentenced under Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. This section also asserts that, if it is determined that the person who strives to die by performing suicide is not below critical pressure, and then he shall be punished as per the stated Code of 1860. Therefore, Section 115 of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 decriminalizes an endeavor to suicide.

On balancing these two suicide laws, vast trouble occurs. This is because the Indian Penal Code, 1860 criminalizes effort to suicide, whereas the Mental Health Care Act of 2017 decriminalizes effort to die by performing suicide. It took almost 157 years to make the Mental Health Care Act which decriminalizes strive to suicide. The Division judges of the distinguished High Court of Delhi in the matter of State v. Sanjay Kumar Bhatia judged that Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860 is not proper for the contemporary human society. It was also believed that the prerequisite like Section 309 should not reside in the law book because it has no reason. 

Socio-Legal Perspective of Suicide Laws in India

On examining the connection among suicide cases in India with that of the community, there is a significant disadvantage. This is because; the IPC was established in 1860 whereas the Mental Health Care Act was established only in 2017. The people who strive for suicide take this choice only due to critical pressure, emotional pain, or disease. In this instance, forcing sentences or arrest does not reduce the suicide effort. What is required is personal and emotional support to encourage him to come out of his sickness or anxiety. Only by inflicting punishment is not of any value. The state is about diffusely held in most of the suicide effort cases because most of the death happens due to hunger, unemployment, economic uncertainty, family matters, etc. Because of this, the sufferer has no other choices besides to finish his life by performing suicide. Giving punishments of the persons who strive to perform suicide additional worsens the condition because repeatedly they are experiencing more anxiety and distress. It does not fix them.

Outlines to Level the Suicide Rate 

The Indian Judiciary and nation have identified the necessity to abolish Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860. Various efforts were made beginning from the year 1970 to abolish Section 309 of IPC. The percentage of suicide in India can be decreased by correctly executing the Mental Health Care Act, 2017. Measures should be exercised to alter the Indian Penal Code to decriminalize suicide effort. In India, people frequently have a bad understanding of the law. Hence, it is very necessary to spread knowledge about suicide laws. This is attainable through efficient implementation of Section 30 of the Mental Health Care Act, 2017 which gives for building knowledge.


Each state should hold a clear picture of data concerning death by performing suicide. This is more significant because only with appropriate data, we can get to understand the specific amount of deaths by suicide. So that precautionary steps can be used to decrease the suicide rate. Most of the National Crime Records Bureau Report is based on policemen studies. As an effort to suicide is condemned under IPC, most of the events are not published due to concern of penalization. Only be efficient implementation of the Act and heightened knowledge amongst the people, the percentage of suicide can be diminished in India. For this initial discovery of any anxiety or mental disorder and satisfactory remedy for the same is of supreme value. People must also be made to realize that suicide is not the only answer to get off from their obstacles.

Author: Varun Vikas Srivastav,
Amity Law School, Amity University Noida and 4th Year BBA.LLB

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