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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-9

(De-) criminalization of attempted suicide in India: A review

1 Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
2 National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India

Correspondence Address:
Rajeev Ranjan
Department of Psychiatry, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi - 110 029
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-6748.144936

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Attempted suicide is a serious problem requiring mental health interventions, but it continues to be treated as a criminal offence under the section 309 of Indian Penal Code. The article reviews the international legal perspective across various regions of the world, discusses the unintended consequences of section 309 IPC and highlights the need for decriminalization of attempted suicide in India. The Mental Health Care Bill, 2013, still under consideration in the Rajya Sabha (upper house), has proposed that attempted suicide should not be criminally prosecuted. Decriminalization of suicidal attempt will serve to cut down the undue stigma and avoid punishment in the aftermath of incident, and lead to a more accurate collection of suicide-related statistics. From a policy perspective, it will further emphasize the urgent need to develop a framework to deliver mental health services to all those who attempt suicide.

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