THE LAW IN SUICIDE CASES
In recent times, discussions on #suicide have occupied the attention of the #media, social and print, TV and internet in a big way. The recent suicide of actor, #SushantSinghRajput (#Actor), on 14-06-2020 is a case that has been highlighted aggressively by press and media possibly because of the lack of #news items due to the #Pandemic. It seems that the world is now fed up of reading news and updates on Coronavirus and any other news, even if tragic, is a welcome break from the Corona crisis. However, this aggressive reporting on suicide has in its wake seen the commission of suicide by few people across the country. So, the over-zealousness of the press also has its minus points. But it is unlikely that such suicides will restrain reporting of this news item.
Police investigations on the suicide of Sushant Singh Rajput is underway for a number of days and there are people in the suspect list, some of who are famous #Bollywood personalities. Though most of these #FIRs will be unfounded, however, the ground reality is the law on suicides in India makes abetment of suicide also an offence punishable under the #law.
The law states at Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code 1860 (#IPC) that #abetment of suicide is an offence punishable under the law. As per the law, a person is guilty of abetment of a thing in three circumstances, firstly, if a person instigates any person to do that thing, secondly, engages with one or more persons in any conspiracy for the doing of that thing, and thirdly, intentionally aids by illegal act or omission, the doing of that thing is deemed to have abetted the crime.
Hence, if any person, in the named persons, in the Sushant Singh Rajput’s case are deemed to fall within the definition of abetment of his suicide, such persons will be punished with imprisonment of a term which may extend to 10 years and also be liable to fine.
Though suicide is generally the outcome of #depression or manic disorder, however, there are instances when the depression can be due to the acts and omissions of third parties who have instigated the suicidal person to act in a manner that he feels compelled to take his own life.
While criminal law assumes innocence until proven guilty and that too beyond reasonable doubt, all persons who have been named to have abetted the Actor’s suicide, will have to go through the rigors of investigation, if a complaint or a FIR has been lodged against them. Only time will tell whether the Actor’s suicide was the outcome of depression or due to the instigation of some third party.
Sushila Ram Varma
The Indian Lawyer
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