Is an attempt to suicide illegal?

There is an apparent disconnect in the law as it currently stands (as on date of writing this post) between s. 309 of the IPC and s. 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017.

S. 309 criminalises an attempt to suicide, with imprisonment and fine. While numerous tries have been made to challenge the constitutional validity of this provision, the ruling precedents on the point still hold that the right to life u/a 21 of the Indian Constitution does not include the right to take one’s own life, thus effectively upholding s. 309.

However, in 2017, the Mental Healthcare law came to be passed, which clearly states that notwithstanding anything stated in s.309 of IPC, a person who attempts suicide shall be presumed (unless proved otherwise) to have severe stress and shall not be punished under the IPC.

There has been an increasing  cry for decriminalising s. 309 (attempt to suicide), because it is believed that people are driven to suicide mostly as a result of severe psychological stress, and to cure that, they need psychological support and not deserve to be locked up like a criminal. The Supreme Court has requested the Centre to provide a clarification on which of the two laws would be constitutionally sound. 

Personally, I believe it is absurd to criminalise attempts to suicide in the 21st century, and on the contrary, we must adopt the approach taken by the Mental Health care Act and take it forward, using compassion and counselling as curative mechanisms in these matters. 

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