Abettor's Dead End
Supreme Court has legalised passive Euthanasia and living will, saying that right to life includes right to die. This Supreme Court decision has paved the way for decriminalizing suicide, an issue which will be revisited in future, in view of domestic and international developments pointing towards the same. It has been said time and again that a person committing suicide is a 'victim of circumstances' and not an 'offender'. Section 115( 2 )of the Mental Health Care Act mandates the government to provide care, treatment and Rehabilitation to a person having severe stress and who attempted to commit suicide , to reduce the risk of recurrence . As and when suicide is taken off from the list of crimes , the treatment of 'abetment of suicide' also needs to be looked into .The dictionary meaning of 'abetment' is 'assistance'; for instance, if a medical practitioner gives deadly pills to help someone commit suicide , it is abetment. But in legal cases, policemen and judges commonly interpret abetment as ‘driving a person to suicide’. However, the entire concept of driving a person to suicide seems ill founded . According to various studies , no one can be driven to suicide as 99.99% of people will not commit suicide under any circumstances . Only 0.01% of people commit suicide and that too not because harassment is common in their cases but because of mental illness and depression. Researches by mental health experts have revealed that there is an entirely different cause of suicide which is a chemical imbalance in the brain and which can be traced to genetic variation that affects brain chemistry . This chemical imbalance may be addressed with timely and proper medication .Going by these findings, it is clear that there is a kind of people in the world who are suicide prone. Then how is it justified to legally hold a person responsible and punishable if someone else commits suicide ? If a person suffering from severe stress , anxiety or depression (for whatever reasons )does not take timely medical help in terms of counselling and medication and chooses to end his / her life , it's purely his / her choice and the person accused as an abettor is actually a tiny factor in the Grand play of things. The person committing suicide due to his /her own failure, seals the fate of the abettor , who is left fighting a suicide note and its interpretation. The pattern is familiar and typical : a business reversal/ failure , breakup of marriage, a failed relationship , academic and professional failure , depression, a downward spiral, leading eventually to suicide . Suicide is a crime in the present times hence 'abetment of suicide 'is also a crime but this whole skewed treatment of suicide and abetment of suicide defy common sense. It deprives the alleged abettor of an opportunity to defend himself / herself by cross examining the 'so-called victim of circumstances 'who may have played an active role in creating those circumstances .There are enough and more instances in India when someone commits suicide and his / her relatives obtain arrest of those accused of causing mental anguish which drove that person to this extreme step. However, people who commit suicide are responsible for their own death because it takes more than a couple of bad situations to make someone take his life. Suicides are a very personal decision. Unless a person physically helps another to commit suicide, it is not his fault . Suicide is never the only option and despite huge hardships there are other options that can be taken to address a situation . There are cases where violence, blackmail, cruelty, criminal intimidation, harassment, etc.lead suicide prone people to commit suicide. But in all such cases , the harassers should be prosecuted for the relevant crime. WHY an additional crime called 'abetment of suicide'?