‘It is clear that the act done must be in the course of attempt, otherwise, no offence is committed.’
The Karnataka High Court in Kaviraj S v. State of Karnataka has held that a person cannot be prosecuted merely for intention or preparation to commit suicide when there was actually no attempt to commit suicide.
In the instant case, allegation was that Kaviraj made an attempt to commit suicide. But, Justice KN Phaneendra, in a plea challenging the criminal proceedings, perused the charge sheet and observed that though he intended to commit suicide, there is no material to show that he actually committed suicide and survived.
Referring to Section 309 of Indian Penal Code, the court observed that the condition precedent for the said provision is that suicide necessarily has been committed, but he was unsuccessful.
“It is clear that the act done must be in the course of attempt, otherwise no offence is committed. Section 309 of IPC renders the persons liable who has actually committed suicide but survived. The condition precedent is that, suicide necessarily has been committed, but he was unsuccessful,” the bench added.
The court also took note of a statement made by witness who stated Kaviraj had been to their lodge for the purpose of committing suicide. “But the accused was caught on 26.10.2016. Though the petitioner was there in the lodge room on 25.10.2016 and he went away locking the said room on the next day. This clears out doubt that though the petitioner is said to have stated that he would like to commit suicide, but he has not made any attempt, though he had sufficient opportunity in the lodge on 25.10.2016. Therefore, nothing is on the record to show that any attempt actually was made by the accused-petitioner to commit suicide at any time,” the court said.
Proposal To Scrap ‘Attempt To Commit Suicide’ Offence
There was a move by the Central Government to scrap Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code which criminalizes ‘attempt to commit suicide”. But no amendment has been brought yet in this regard. The Law Commission, in its 210th report, had opined: ““But when a troubled individual tries to end his life, it would be cruel and irrational to visit him with punishment on his failure to die…. It would not be just and fair to inflict additional legal punishment on a person who has already suffered agony and ignominy in his failure to commit suicide.”