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Attempt to Commit Suicide: A Socio-Legal Study

�Hope is a necessity for Normal Life and the major weapon against the Suicide Impulse�- Karl A. Menninger

Suicide is a major health problem. The global suicide mortality rate represents 1.4% of all deaths worldwide. The majority of suicides are related to mental illnesses, of which depression, substance use disorders, and psychosis are the most relevant risk factors [However, anxiety, personality, diet and related disorders trauma and organic mental disorders also have an impact. 4,444 psychological autopsies in the middle of the last century and later showed that the majority of people who committed suicide suffered from mental disorders.

Recent data indicate that this number may be at least 90%. On the other hand, most people with mental disorders do not die by their own hands. The risk of suicide from various mental disorders such as depression, alcoholism, and schizophrenia is estimated to be 5-8% has proposed a quality model of stress in which the risk of suicidal behavior depends not only on the mental illness (stressor) but also on the quality, such as the feeling of having more suicidal ideation and the tendency to act. Therefore, the risk of suicide is multifactorial.

Studying the risk factors of patients with mental disorders is an urgent task to predict and prevent deaths by suicide. Included in this special issue are 13 articles that explore suicide risk and mental disorders from several different perspectives.

According to one review, most studies on race/immigration status and suicide attempts show that the rate of immigrants is higher compared to the local population, although in some cases the opposite is true.

Risk factors were found to be:
language barriers, concern about the family's return home, and separation from family members, often leading to despair, depression, and anxiety. Furthermore, lack of information about the health system, loss of status, loss of social networks, and cultural adaptation (when individuals acquire attitudes from different countries, etc.) was identified as possible triggers.

However, the research paper discusses the acts and regulations regulating the laws on an attempt to commit suicide along with the landmark cases based on the said subject matter. The paper also discusses the legal issues connected with the subject matter of the paper.

Concept of Suicide and Attempt to Commit Suicide
The word SUICIDE in itself is nowhere defined in the Indian Penal Code, however, its meaning and import are well known and require no explanation. `Sui� means `self� and `cide� means `killing�, thus implying an act of self-killing.

Suicide is frequently committed as a result of despair, which is commonly attributed to a mental illness such as depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, alcoholism, or drug misuse. Financial difficulties or problems with interpersonal connections are common sources of stress.

While a person who has completed suicide is beyond the reach of the law, as the crime abates with him. However, when a person is unsuccessful in the commission of suicide or if the desired intention of the offender is not met in committing suicide, he is within the ambit of the Indian penal code Under Section 309.

This section is based on a justified public policy to prohibit others from being involved, instigating, or assisting in the death of a person. It deals with the circumstances as well as the danger posed by death baiters.[1].

Attempt to Commit Suicide
As per the Indian penal code, Section 309 deals with the attempt to commit suicide as under- Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offense shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

The essence of suicide is intentional self-destruction of life. Intention to commit suicide is essential in order to constitute an offense under this section. It was held that in the lack of evidence that an accused leapt into a well to evade the police and afterward came out of the well of his own accord, he could not be convicted of an infraction under this Section 309.

In the case of P. Rathinam vs. Union of India, the constitutional validity of Section 309 was initially struck down as a cruel and unreasonable law that violated Article 21 of the Constitution, whereof in P. Rathinam Vs. Union of India the decision was reversed in Gian Kaur Vs. State of Punjab, and a Supreme Court constitutional bench affirmed the constitutional validity of section 309 by saying that it does not violate Art 14, 19, and 21 of the Indian constitution.

Abetment of Suicide
The Abetment of Suicide has been defined under section 305 Indian Penal Code, 1860- If a person under the age of eighteen, an insane person, a delirious person, an idiot, or a person intoxicated commits suicide, whoever aids in the conduct of such suicide must be punished by death, life imprisonment, or a term of imprisonment not exceeding ten years, as well as a fine.

The evidence presented by the prosecution before the trial judge must be such that, if taken at face value, it establishes that the girl under the age of 18 committed suicide as a direct and proximate result of the accused's abetment or encouragement. Whereas, under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, anyone who aids or abets suicide is guilty of a crime.
  1. If A persuades B to commit suicide by ingesting poison, and B does so, A is accountable as an abettor under this section.
In the case of Brij Lal v. Prem Chand - Creating circumstances that induced or coerced a wife to commit suicide is punishable under section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. To convict someone under section 305 or 306 of the IPC, there must be a definite Mens Rea to do the crime. It also necessitates an active act or a direct act that caused the deceased to commit suicide since he or she had no other choice, and this act must have occurred (push the deceased into such a position that he committed suicide). In order to establish a case of abetment, the accused must provoke, incite, or encourage a person to commit an act.

The meaning of abetment under this section must match that of section 107 of the Indian Penal Code, i.e., there must be a provocation, cooperation, or purposeful aid given to the person who is committing suicide. It is not required, however, that the abetment led to the suicide. However, before a person can be found guilty under Section 306, it must be proven that the other person committed suicide. The culpability does not arise in the instance of attempted suicide, which is punishable under section 309 of the IPC. The government's direct participation. The accused's direct involvement in such abetment or encouragement is required. [2].

Constitutional Validity of Section- 306 of Indian Penal Code,1860
In Naresh Morotrao v. UOI, the constitutional validity of section 306 was confirmed. It was decided that section 306 is a completely separate offense. It is founded on the public policy premise that no one should participate in, initiate, or aid in the commission of a crime. It does not violate the constitution's Articles 14 and 21.

International Perspective on Abetment to Commit Suicide
The severity of the punishment and how it is applied in different situations varies by country, but abetment to suicide is still a crime in practically every country. A comparative analysis illustrates the many laws that exist in various countries, as well as the legislation that supports the law, as follows:
  1. Australia:
    Counselling, inciting or aiding and abetting another in attempting suicide is illegal, and the law expressly permits anybody to use "such force as may reasonably be necessary" to prevent another from attempting suicide.
  2. Bhutan:
    The act of suicide is not unlawful in Bhutanese law, but aiding and abetting a suicide is.
  3. Canada:
    Suicide is no longer a crime in Canada, as the Criminal Code of Canada was repealed in 1972 by the Canadian Parliament. However, anyone who:
    1. Counsels a person to commit suicide,
    2. Aids or abets a person to commit suicide,
    3. Whether suicide occurs or not, is guilty of an indictable offense and faces a maximum sentence of fourteen years in prison.
    4. England and Wales - In England, the Suicide Act of 1961 decriminalized suicide. �A person who assists, abets, counsels, or procures the suicide of another, or any attempt by another to commit suicide, shall be liable on conviction on indictment to imprisonment for a term not exceeding fourteen years,� according to Section 2(1) of the Act.
    5. Ireland- In Ireland, attempted suicide is not a criminal offense, and self-harm is not commonly considered a form of attempted suicide under Irish law. It was made legal in 1993. Assisted suicide and euthanasia, on the other hand, are prohibited. As of December 2012, this is being challenged in the High Court. In Ireland, assisted suicide is still banned as of 2014.
    6. Netherland- Being present and providing emotional support during someone's suicide is not a crime in the Netherlands, and neither is providing general information about suicide techniques. Participating in the planning or execution of suicide, including the provision of lethal tools or instruction in their use, is, nonetheless, illegal.
    7. New Zealand - New Zealand, like many other Western countries, currently has no laws prohibiting suicide as a personal, unassisted act. However, under Section 179 of the Crimes Act 1961, there are still legal penalties for 'assisting or abetting' the suicides of others, as in analogous societies.
    8. Romania- Suicide is not prohibited in Romania, however promoting or facilitating someone else's suicide is a crime punishable by up to ten years in jail, depending on the circumstances.
    9. Russia- Inciting someone to commit suicide through threats, brutal treatment, or systematic humiliation is punished by up to 5 years in jail, according to Article 110 of the Russian Federation's Criminal Code.
    10. Scotland- In Scotland, assisting a suicide can be considered murder or culpable homicide in particular circumstances.

4. Singapore:
Suicide, suicide abetment and attempted suicide abetment are all criminal offenses in Singapore.

Nothing in the Act "must authorize an act that causes or accelerates death as distinct from an act that allows the dying the process to take its natural course," according to Clause 17(1) of the Advance Medical Directive Bill.

"Nothing in this Act shall condone, permit, or approve abetment of suicide, mercy killing, or euthanasia," says Clause 17(2). Suicide aid, mercy killing, and euthanasia are still criminal offenses under the Penal Code.

5. United States:
Thirty of the fifty states had no prohibitions against suicide or suicide attempts by the late 1980s, but every state had laws making it illegal to aid, advise, or urge another person to commit suicide. "Every individual who intentionally assists, advises, or urges another to commit suicide is guilty of a felony," according to the standard statute. There are at least twelve states in the United States which have enacted legislation dealing with aiding, abetting, and advising suicide.
  • Manslaughter is a crime in Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Washington, where aiding, advising, or encouraging another person to commit suicide is a criminal.
  • Minnesota, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wisconsin do not classify aiding and abetting as a felony or manslaughter, instead of imposing a jail sentence ranging from 7 to 15 years for assisting or abetting a suicide.
  • In New York, manslaughter is defined as causing or assisting another person to commit suicide. If the suicide attempt is unsuccessful, the penalty is reduced.
  • Only North Dakota and Oklahoma make it clear that providing a weapon or poison is a kind of aiding and abetting.

International Cases
  • As long as a causal link can be demonstrated between incitement and death, the illegality of the actual suicide is incidental in evaluating the responsibility of the aider, abettor, and adviser.[3]
  • It was held by the court that Even if the defendant did not provide the Poison but was present at the time it was consumed and urged the dead to commit suicide, the court decided that this would be considered murder.[4]
  • Despite the fact that suicide is not a felony in Michigan, the Michigan Supreme Court upheld a conviction for murder by poison against an individual who compounded the poison and placed it within reach of the suicide.[5]
  • The courts of Massachusetts, in Commonwealth v. Bowen, Tennessee, in Turner v. State, and South Carolina, in State v. Jones, have all decided that the aider and abettor is guilty of murder in his own right, arguing, among other things, that the victim's cooperation is not an excuse.

Case laws
  1. Gian Kaur v. Union of India: In P. Rathinam v. Union of India[6], the Court made a reference to the global view on suicide and found that attempt to suicide is not an offense in the United Kingdom and in the United States of America. This led both the Bombay High Court and the Supreme Court, holding that there is a need to decriminalize attempted suicide by parting with Section 309, IPC.

    In 1996, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to reconsider the decision made on Punjab in Gian Kaur V. State of Punjab. The court of first instance ruled that the appellant Gian Kaur and her husband Harbans Singh incited Kulwant Kaur to commit suicide in accordance with Article 306 of the IPC. The appellant questioned the constitutional validity of Article 306 on the grounds that the court had declared Article 309 unconstitutional in the case of P. Rathinam v. Union of India, the Federation of India, because the right to life stipulated in article 21 includes the right to death. Once we recognize that the right to death is a basic right, whoever instigates suicide cannot be considered a crime, because they are only helping in the exercise of the basic right. Therefore, Article 306 of the CIP, which sanctions assisted suicide, also violates Article 21. Since the argument was based solely on the unconstitutionality of Article 309 in the P. Rathinam case, the court faced two problems:

    Fact in issues:
    1. whether the Court was right in deciding the P. Rathinam case?
    2. Secondly, if so, does Section 306 violate Article 21?

      Obiter Dicta -Although the answer to these two questions is negative, the Supreme Court believes that certain positive public behaviors are a prerequisite for suicide, and the occurrence of these behaviors cannot fall within the scope of protection provided for in Article 21. The extinction of life cannot be interpreted as being within the protection of life. The right to life, like other rights, is a natural right, but suicide is an unnatural extinction of life.

      Therefore, natural positive rights cannot go hand in hand with unnatural negative rights. In addition, the court found that there is an inherent difference between the nature of the right to life stipulated in Article 21 and other rights (such as the right to freedom of speech, the right to conduct business, etc.).

      The negative aspects of the right to life would mean the end or extinction of the positive aspects, which would not happen in the case of all other fundamental rights.
      Article 21 speaks of a dignified life. Any aspect of life that dignifies it can be interpreted as such, but not the aspects that make it disappear.

      This right to a dignified life lasts until the end of natural life. In fact, everyone has the right to die with dignity. However, the right to die with dignity at the end of natural life should not be confused with the right to unnatural death that shortens natural life. Therefore, Article 309 of the IPC is considered constitutionally valid.

      Regarding the issue of the constitutional validity of Section 306 of the IPC, the court held that once Section 309 of the IPC is determined to be valid, there are no longer serious challenges to the constitutionality of Section 306. The court also pointed out that Article 309 of the IPC and Article 306 of the IPC deal with completely different offenses. Although section 309 of the IPC deals with failed acts, that is, suicide attempts, section 306 deals with completed suicides. Article 306 of the IPC punishes instigation to suicide and instigation of suicide attempts is not within its scope.

      Therefore, Section 306 IPC may be independent of Section 309 IPC. In addition, the court observed that in most other jurisdictions, although attempted suicide is not a criminal offense; incitement to suicide and incitement to attempt suicide are both punishable crimes. In the absence of such a provision, in order to avoid possible abuse, this is considered desirable.
  2. Gurbachan Singh v. Satpal Singh & Ors:
    Gurbachan Singh's daughter Ravinder Kaur married Satpal Singh in November 1962. He died at about 2:30 pm on June 25, 1983. Allegedly, she committed suicide because of her in-laws' harassment, constant teasing, and cruel behavior, continuous demands for dowry, and hints that she was pregnant with an illegitimate child. She was allegedly provoked by this behavior and behavior and committed suicide.

    The father-in-law, mother-in-law, and husband of the deceased were the instigators of the crime, and the deceased died of second to third-degree burns. The academic judge of the additional meeting determined based on all the evidence in the record that the defendant was guilty of conspiracy to commit suicide and therefore should be punished in accordance with Article 306 of the IPC.

    After the defendant filed an appeal, the High Court found that the defendant�s crimes had not been proven and therefore declared them innocent. The complainant and the deceased�s father were dissatisfied with the High Court�s order and preferred to appeal in the form of a specially authorized appeal. The Supreme Court held that the acquittal order issued by the High Court was unsustainable and confirmed the conviction of the defendant in accordance with I.P.C Article 306 And the sentences imposed by the judges of additional meetings, Amritsar.

    held: (Per Sabyasachi Mukharji, J.) The instigation is a separate and unique crime, provided that the instigation is a crime. Incitement does not imply the actual execution of a crime of complicity; separation is a crime. Criminal charges must be brought home and proven to exclude all reasonable doubts. Although civil cases can be proven only by superior evidence, in criminal cases, the prosecution must show that the charges are not reasonably suspicious.

    There must be no "reasonable suspicion" of the defendant's guilt for the specific crime alleged. The court must strictly believe that even at the risk of releasing some guilty persons, innocent persons who will not be found guilty are innocent in the sense of not committing the alleged crimes.
  3. Brij Lal v. Prem Chand:
    In the case of Brij Lal versus Prem Chand, Veena Rani, in her mid-twenties, an employed woman was married to Prem Chand, an ex-policeman. She and Prem Chand were living on their own and no in-laws were involved. Veena Rani had been harassed by Prem Chand for a long time and in 1975 had returned to her parent's home at Patiala for several months. When she was sent back to her marital home, the harassment continued.

    On September 10, Veena wrote to her mother that Prem Chand was demanding Rs.1,000 to repay a loan on his scooter. On September 14, a day before she died, she again wrote to her mother asking for Rs.1,000 for Prem Chand, and also for money to pay the rent of the matrimonial home. On September 15, 1975, Veena Rani burnt to death when she was alone in the house, Prem Chand having gone out. The trial court convicted Prem Chand of instigation and abetment of suicide and sentenced him to three years imprisonment. However, on appeal, the high court of Punjab and Haryana acquitted him. The State did not appeal against this decision, but on a private appeal, the Supreme Court reversed the high court decision and upheld the trial court�s decision.

    SC observed: The court held that although Prem Chand was not present when Vina was burned to death, circumstantial evidence clearly showed that she committed suicide through self-immolation. In a letter to her mother, she wrote that Prem Chand told her that he didn't care if she died, but he had to make money for him.

    (Per S. Natarajan, J.) Instigation and Abetment must be adjudged in the context of the entire evidence. Creation of circumstances that provoked or forced wife to commit suicide attracts section 306 of the Indian Penal Code.
  4. Mangat Ram v. State of Haryana:
    After finding the appellant guilty, the court of first instance convicted the appellant under IPC Article 498-A and sentenced him to three years in prison, and paid a fine of Rs 1,000/-. Failure to do this will continue to be severely imprisoned for Six months. The appellant was also found guilty under Article 306 of the IPC and sentenced to 7 years� imprisonment and paid a fine of 4,000 rupees/-. By default, it was submitted to RI for two years. The appellant was dissatisfied with the conviction and sentence made by the court of the first instance and preferred the 1997 Criminal Appeal No. 592-SB, which was filed for a hearing in the High Court Chamber on May 3, 2007. The court also rejected the appeal. Confirm the conviction and sentence of the defendant by the Court of First Instance.

SC Observed: K. S. Radhakrishnan, J. observed that:
We fail to see how the failure of a married person to take his wife along with him to the place where he is working or posted, would amount to cruelty leading to abetment of committing suicide by the wife�. Taking a wife to work depends on several factors, such as the convenience of the two, the availability of accommodation, and many factors. In this case, the defendant left his wife in the marriage with his parents. We do not see how this behavior constitutes incitement to suicide.

The court is of the view that the circumstances of the case pointed out by the prosecution are totally insufficient to hold that the accused had abetted his wife to commit suicide and the circumstances enumerated under Section 113A of the Evidence Act have also not been satisfied.

Decision: Consequently, the appeal was allowed and the conviction and sentence awarded by the trial Court and confirmed by the High Court, was set aside.

The Framer Law was familiar with the situation in which you can sprout from the emerging pattern of the changing society, establishing the law. It is provided to the punishment. Where due to the change of time, social patterns are very changing and are short and short for the purpose that has already been promulgated, so we are looking for recently modified laws and regulations. In a certain period, the method of the crime committee changed in a manner that exceeded the provisions established.

Said laws that do not restrict the judgment are not limited to pest patterns of criminal law. In each case, the mind, facts, and situations in such cases must be determined in mind so that justice is administered in a true sense.

In today's emerging society, people are faced with many family or workplace-related problems. Few people cannot cope with this pressure and end their lives, so suicide has become very common. In addition, with the increase in the number of suicide cases, the number of instigated suicide cases has also steadily increased, whether it is a case of conspiracy to instigate or assist the victim to commit suicide. It is easy for the defendant to violate the criminal regulations dealing with such crimes because the scope of the regulations is limited to three categories.

Therefore, there is an urgent need to amend the regulations on accomplices so that perpetrators cannot circumvent legislation and repair cases as they wish, and avoid punishment. In addition, the law should not be strictly interpreted in a limited way. But according to the facts and circumstances of each case, justice should prevail. As human beings, we must all die one day. But the way we die is also important. God gave us this life, there is only one life, let us enjoy and take care of it.

On the last day, when we are in front of the One who has given us, we will explain to ourselves how we use it. We discussed different types of suicide in the document, the current growth rate, and the Bible's response to this. Obviously, there may be more, because some people even think that people who take drugs or other narcotics will commit suicide indirectly, which is not discussed in this article.

Now in short, as Christians, we have our own responsibility to commit suicide in one way or another. Now is the time for us to fight it; tell the world that suicide is not the answer to life�s problems and pain. Escape from pain is just a cowardly act. But, on the other hand, if we endure the pain of life, the rewards are always greater than we think. Therefore, it is a great challenge for us Christians to help those in need, comfort those who are depressed and, comfort those who are suffering from the hope that God has placed for us in the Bible.

  1. Raghunath Das v. Emperor AIR 1920 pat 502
  2. Jagannath Mondal v. State of West Bengal [2013 Cr.L.J. 1994(cal)]
  3. Schulman, Suicide and Suicide Prevention: A Legal Analysis, 54 A.B.A. J. 855, 859 (1968)
  4. Blackburn v. State
  5. People v. Roberts
  6. 1994 AIR 1844

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