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ATTEMPT TO SUICIDE

In an attempt to suicide, a person attempts to commit suicide but either fails or is stopped before they could take their own life. Unfortunately, The Indian Penal Code 1860 does not define suicide but according to Oxford dictionary suicide is “The action of killing oneself intentionally”. 

Section 309 of The Indian Penal Code 1860 explains Attempt to suicide as; “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 1 or with fine, or with both.” [1] It must be made clear that suicide is no offense under The Indian Penal Code 1860 as the person would be dead and a dead person cannot be punished. Hence only an attempt to suicide is an offence as it is believed that no one can take any one’s life, not even their own. This section interprets it as so to make it a duty of the state to save a person’s life as it is valuable to them. This section obliges the state to protect a person and prevent them from dying. The main ingredient of section 309 is the voluntary attempt to kill oneself as seen in Emperor v. Dwarka Poonja [2] in which the accused jumped in a well to get away from the police and not to commit suicide and as the accused did not jump in the well to commit suicide he was not guilty under section 309 of The Indian Penal Code 1860. 
In this day and age, the main cause of an attempt to suicide is depression [3]. Depression is a mental illness caused by perpetual sadness. According to Dr.Solanki, an expert in the field of mental health; “If a person is sad for more than 2 weeks, then it can lead to depression”. An individual who attempts suicide because of depression is not punished as he is in the mental state of perpetual sadness and requires therapy and treatment, such an individual must not be punished as it will have more negative effects on the person than positive effects. Mental illnesses are an unfortunate reality of our time, they exist in most people but the people themselves are unaware of it and go on their day to day life without even realizing the same. This eventually leads to detrimental effects on the person as they kept going on in life without even getting their mental health problems fixed or even checked and eventually it leads to depression and then thoughts of suicide. Then the final step is that the person will try to kill themselves as they don’t have any will to live anymore.
Cases relating to attempt to suicide:
Keeping the reasoning that depression causes an attempt to suicide the learned judges in the case of Maruti Shripati Dubal v. State Of Maharashtra [4]; Bombay High Court held that Article 21 doesn’t just guarantee the right to life but also guarantees right to die as well. They also held that section 309 of The Indian Penal Code 1860 is unconstitutional.
Keeping in track with the previous judgment a division bench of The Supreme Court in P. Rathinam v. Union of India [5] also held that the right to life includes the right to die.
However, the issue of suicide was raised again in the five-judge bench Supreme Court case of Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab [6] overruled the previous judgment of P. Rathinam v. Union of India and stated that the Right to life does not include the Right to die and upheld the constitutional validity of Section 309 of  The Indian Penal Code 1860.
The Supreme Court has held that the Right to life does not include the right to die. Life and death are conflicting with each other. Any aspect of life which honors life itself may be included in Article 21 of The Indian Constitution but nothing which ends it.
Though later The Supreme Court itself recommended the parliament to consider removing section 309 of The Indian Penal Code on 7 March 2011. Then the works began to decriminalize attempt to suicide. 

The Medical Health Care Bill
The Medical Health Care Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha to decriminalize an attempt to suicide. The bill’s section 124 states that anyone who attempts suicide will be presumed to be suffering from mental illness unless proven otherwise and section 309 of The Indian Penal Code will not apply. This is a step in the right direction, but it only leaves one way for a person attempting suicide to be punished. That one way is if the person, in his full conscious chooses to kill himself without any coercion(as that would not count towards an attempt to suicide but rather it will be abetment to suicide) and without any intoxication from alcohol or any drug. This situation is impractical. No man will want to kill himself if everything is going well and he doesn’t have any sort of depression or any mental illness which makes him want to kill himself or hurt himself.
In today’s time, depression is the main reason behind suicide and attempt to suicide. No one in their right mind would attempt to kill themselves. The person who is aiming at self-destruction needs help not punishment. They must be cared about and given the necessary aid to get out of the mental state of self -harm otherwise it would be made worse. A person trying to kill oneself should be spoken to kindly and aided in any way necessary, punishment will only make that individual wish for death even more. A person wishing to die is to be pitied and helped not hurt or punished.

Conclusion
In the present time, the punishment is waived off from Section 309 of The Indian Penal Code. Nowadays no one is prosecuted for an attempt to suicide nor are they punished for it. This is done to help people cope with their mental illnesses. From this, we can conclude that The Indian Penal Code should remove section 309; attempt to suicide so that it can work properly as a criminal code in this modern era. The Indian Penal Code must be tuned in with the current day and age as the law must evolve along with society or else it will be discarded by society. A law should help the society grow and punish only those who go out of bounds of the written rules of society but, in this contemporary day and age, such a law is nothing more than a hindrance to the growth of the society as it punishes people who are in true need of assistance. There was a day when thoughts of killing oneself were considered weak and such individuals were punished for even having such thoughts but today people with such thoughts are to be given the necessary aid they deserve. Hence why The Supreme Court itself asked The Parliament to decriminalize section 309 of The Indian Penal Code; attempt to suicide.

References
[1]  Section 309- IPC, 1860
[2]  Emperor v. Dwarka Poonja (1912) 14 BOMLR 146
[3]  The Times of India, Available here
[4]  Maruti Shripati Dubal v. State Of Maharashtra, 1987 (1) BOMCR 499.
[5]  P. Rathinam v. Union Of India on 26 April 1994, AIR 1844, 1994 SCC (3) 394
[6]  Smt. Gian Kaur v. The State Of Punjab on 21 March 1996, AIR 946, 1996 SCC (2) 648

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