3(+)7= 1(0)= One Life

10 Dec

The Government today announced a very critical decision to decriminilize the offence of attempt to suicide. This particular act is punishable with imprisonment upto ten years and fine in the Indian Penal Code, 1860.

According to this law (Section 307 of Indian Penal Code, 1860), if a person  has the intention as well as knowledge that an act committed by him would result in his death, he would be guilty of murder and be liable to imprisonment extending upto 10 years and fine.

This particular provision has been highly criticised, at times, and has remained one of the controversial and debatable legal provisions that exist in this centuries old law. One the face of it, it suggests a further punishment to an already ill person. Why would someone take his own life? Obviously, if there are circumstances in life that forced him to take such a barbaric step for himself. When an individual is out of options and every hope of better days leaves his mind he takes such a decision. When  things go absolutely out of hand and there is nothing to control, they are forced or rather pushed by circumstances to kill themselves. A person jumping from the cliff of a ten- story building… who pushes him? His circumstances and the despair. Yes, its strange to know how a hopeless attitude towards life can generate hope for death.

The law makers implemented the 210th Report of the Law Commission on  “Humanization and Decriminalisation of Attempt to Suicide” wherein the experts suggested that this particular provision should be deleted as it is inhuman to punish a person who is already distressed. There was a unison voice against this law as it seemed to inflict double punishment on a person who suffers agony because of his failure to commit suicide.

The law makers have understood that what these people with suicidal tendencies need is not punishment but treatment and care.

But the debate does not come to an end with the end of this provision. New challenges would arise. some of them being… how would you judge if a person is actually depressed and so unhappy that he has got reasons to die. We have teenagers who try to risk their as well as others’ lives for fun… would that tendency be encouraged? People who are extra- sensitive or emotional in life take their lives on very trivial grounds, would that be encouraged?

The repeal of this law is a step towards reformatory theory of crime but at the same time seems to be a step back in preventive theory of crime. It is to be observed if this measure encourages life or death.

In the end, I would just like to say that yes… there are times when you want to die and in those times remember of the days when you lived and remind yourself of the life that you had always wanted to live. Ask a question.. have you lived that life? If not… then you might be having a thousand reasons to end it but that one reason to live is much stronger to continue.

A student asked his teacher, “If life becomes brutal, unfair and a burden to carry endlessly with no hope of better days, isn’t it prudent to end such a life?”

The teacher replied, “Yes… it might seem to be the only option. But what’s left after death? Even if it’s brutal and burden and most unfair, still you are alive to experience it, to feel it, to weep, to cry loudly and to remain silent… do you experience all this after death?”

But what if a person has got no other choice? The student asked.

“There is always a choice.”

As one of my friends says “Don’t let society fuck up your only life”. I say, don’t let anybody, not even yourself  do that to your life. After all, its your only life 🙂

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