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More about Abetment of Suicide

In India the suicide mortality rate is the way to count suicidal deaths in a year per 1,00,000 population. To be precise the suicide rate in India in 2019 was about 12.7% and this rate is gradually increasing. Here one crucial thing to understand is that people having suicidal thoughts with a mindset to take their lives and those compelling or abetting them to commit suicide, adds to suicidal deaths. Suicide defines itself as a set of intentional ending of life, being un-natural death, the desire to die originating with oneself and a cause to end life.  The Abetment of Suicide, covered under Section 306 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) states that if any person commits suicide, whoever abets him to commit the same shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years or fine or both.  In order to convict a person under the same section of IPC, along with clear intention there must also be an active act which steers the deceased to commit suicide and this act must be inveigled and completely compelling the person to commit suicide as resultant of seeing no other option left. For general public the term ‘abetment’ is generally difficult to understand, so, a person is said to be held accountable for abetment of suicide if the following conditions are fulfilled:  If he/she instigates someone to commit suicide in any manner.  If he/she, deliberately, helps victim to commit suicide by doing an act or omission of such act he was bound to do.  If he/she takes part in a conspiracy to make the person commit suicide. And the person who fulfills all these conditions is termed as an ‘abettor’, also well defined under section 108 of the IPC. For instance:  If person A persuades person B to kill himself by swallowing some drug or poison and B going through suicidal thoughts and under influence of A commits suicide, then A will be held liable as an Abettor.  If A along with some other people conspires against B, creating such circumstances and compelling B to commit suicide. Abetment of suicide is-  Cognizable- Police can make arrest even without warrant from the court,  Non-bailable- Bail is granted to the accused as per the orders or discretion of the court, not concerning the right  Non-compoundable- Court does not allow the withdrawal of the case, it cannot be withdrawn by the complainant even incase accused and complainant have reached a compromise.  Section 305 of IPC defines abetment of suicide of a child or insane person. If any person under the age of eighteen years, any insane person or a person in state of intoxication commits suicide, whoever abets the commission of the offence shall be punished with imprisonment exceeding to 10 years or life imprisonment or death or shall also be held liable to fine. Invention of concept of Abetment of Suicide Here a question arises, as to what actually led to the invention of the concept of Abetment of Suicide.  The concept of Sati Pratha led to addition of Section 306 in IPC. Those days, the widely spread brutal tradition of Sati was followed, wherein the widow was forced to be burnt alive with the dead body of her husband.  Here, the wife committed suicide by the actions and ill treatment of her in-laws. In order to eliminate this, the provision was consequently added. Therefore, the family members of husband were held liable for abetment of suicide.  The Commission of Sati Prevention Act, 1987 provides more effective prevention of the commission of Sati and its glorification and for matters connected with it and incidental for the same. Euthanasia, Abetment of Suicide?  Sometimes Euthanasia or mercy killing is also read in same terms as that of abetment of suicide but both are like two different sides of coin.  NOTE: However, both causes death but the intention (Mens Rea) behind both completely different. Also, one is negative act of suicide but the other involves empathy towards a terminally ill patient.

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