Decriminalisation of Suicide

Decriminalisation of Suicide

Hence, Mental Health Foundation aimed at changing the major structural and attitudinal barriers to achieve positive mental health outcomes in populations. The MHFI observed that there is a significant increase in number of suicides in recently. Hence, Mental Health Foundation (India) filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi seeking to implement the 210th Report of the Law Commission of India and repeal Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code. With several efforts of MHFI and other organisation the section was successfully amended as "Notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code."

“How We Decriminalized Suicide in India to Impact More Than One Million Lives”

As per NCRB data, at least 15 suicides take place every hour in India, which means over 1.30 lakhs people ending their lives in a year. Number of suicide attempts is ten times higher than the total suicide deaths, which means about 14 lakhs people attempt suicide in India every year. Under IPC Section 309, attempt to suicide was a criminal offense in India and the punishment included imprisonment up to one year or fine, or both. Mental Health Foundation (India) filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi seeking to implement the 210th Report of the Law Commission of India and repeal Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

Journey towards the change

2017

The LokSabha passed the bill on 27 March 2017. Attempted suicide was decriminalized with the passage of the Mental Healthcare Bill.

2016

The RajyaSabha passed the Bill on 8 August 2016

2015

On 24 February 2015, the Minister of State in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary, said that a proposal to delete Section 309 from the Indian Penal Code had been sent to the Legislative Department of the Ministry of Law and Justice for drawing up a draft Amendment Bill.

2014

The respective Minister of State for Home Affairs, stated that "it has been decided to delete Section 309 of IPC from the Statute book." However, pending the passage of the Mental Health Care Bill 2013, Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code was yet to be limited or repealed.

2013

The respective Government of India introduced Mental Health Care Bill, 2013 including decriminalization of suicide in the proposed bill and referred it to the standing committee.

2012

In respond of the petition, respective Government of India submitted their documentation in court stating that 25 states/UTs have agreed to the LCI recommendation of deleting Section 309 IPC. On that basis, concerned Ministry agreed to consider decriminalization of suicide in next batch of amendment to the IPC, 1860.

2011

Mental Health Foundation (India) filed Public Interest Litigation (PIL) before the Hon’ble High Court of Delhi seeking to expedite the process of implementing the 210th Report of the Law Commission of India seeking to repeal/abolish Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

2010

We found out that every year, more than 10 lakhs people attempt suicide in India. Under IPC Section 309, attempt to suicide was a criminal offense in India and the punishment included imprisonment upto one year or fine, or both.

Repealed Section 309 IPC



"Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both."





Amendment



"Notwithstanding anything contained in section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code."







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