Mumbaikars feel that the government’s decision to decriminalise suicide won’t deter people from ending their lives. According to them, people won’t even rethink before attempting suicide after this move. The government is planning to delete Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code following recommendations of the Law Commission. Minister of state for home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said the government has decided to go ahead with the amendment after receiving backing from 18 states and 4 Union territories.
Right now a person who survives a suicide attempt is punished with a one-year jail term and a fine under a rule in the Indian Penal Code that will now be scrapped on a recommendation from the Law Commission.
Abbas Kazmi, Criminal Lawyer said, “Firstly, I am surprised that the government had to take such a decision suddenly as at present there are no circumstances for the need to make such changes. No human being has any right to end their lives as it is God’s gift to mankind. Attempt to suicide was made a criminal offence as many people were ending their lives over trivial issues but decriminalising it is not a right step.”
Rohini Salian, Senior lawyer said, “Those who want to die will surely find a way to do so. When the person is frustrated with life and its problems, and has no intentions to live will commit suicide irrespective of whether it is an offence or not.”
Vinita Pereira, Counsellor from Mira road said, “Decriminalising attempt to suicide is good and bad for the society. As the move will encourage more depressed people to commit suicide. First they have to think that if the suicide attempt fails then accused will have to face legal issues. It can also be a good move because charges will not be filed against the accused and they will get proper rehabilitation as only the medical fraternity can change their minds.”
Jadan Mendes, Hotel Management student from Andheri (E) said, “It all depends on the person as to how they can deal with all the situations. More awareness must be created to prevent people from taking their lives. If government doesn’t take the right steps to rehabilitate the depressed person it will definitely lead to increase in suicide cases.”
Sheena Fernandes, Final CA student from Andheri said, “I think there will be a surge in suicide cases. Earlier when a suicide attempt used to fail people were imprisoned and cases were filed against them. Now they won’t even rethink before taking the last and final call of their life.”
Anand Singh Rajawat, a College professor, Virar said, “I personally feel decriminalisation will not decrease suicide cases but will only enhance it. As first the individual had to think about the legal aspects involved if his attempt failed, because suicide is a psychological matter and is related to the mind and issues arising out of the extreme complicated problems in life.”
Chirag Katara , DJ and Software developer from Mira Road said, “It will surely increase as people won’t be termed as criminals even if their attempt fails and they will still continue until they succeed.”
Senior advocate Majeed Memon said: “Section 309 of IPC is a singularly unique offence where if the offender succeeds in committing the offence he will not be prosecuted and it is only when he fails that he is liable to be prosecuted. If the section is deleted then it will result in increase in number of cases of suicide because any person who attempts to commit suicide will have no fear of law. Instead the government should explore ways and means by which people can be prevented from being driven to commit suicide.”
The Law Commission has reportedly said attempting suicide is the “manifestation of a diseased condition of mind” that needs treatment and care rather than punishment. The repeal of the anachronistic law contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code would save many lives and relieve the distressed of his suffering.
The first indication of the government’s intention to delete Section 309 of the IPC had come in August this year. In reply to a Parliament question on August 5, minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju had indicated that the government was working on implementing the recommendation of the Law Commission to decriminalize attempt to suicide.