SC Seeks Centre’s Response to PIL on ‘Suicide Prevention Program’


Describing the increasing number of suicides as a “social issue,” the Supreme Court on Thursday granted the Centre four weeks to submit a detailed response to a PIL that seeks the effective implementation of a public health program aimed at preventing and reducing suicides.

A bench of CJI D Y along with Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra noted the submissions of lawyer and petitioner Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who argued that effective measures are required to address the rising number of suicide cases.

The bench asked the Central Government to file a comprehensive affidavit. “It is a social issue; let them (Centre and authorities) file a counter affidavit,” the Chief Justice stated.

On August 2, 2019, the Top Court had issued notices to the Centre, all states, and Union territories regarding the PIL. The plea also seeks a directive for all states and Union territories to initiate projects providing support and advice through call centers and helplines for individuals with suicidal thoughts.

Citing data from Delhi Police, the petition states that 140 cases of suicides among children under 18 were recorded between 2014 and 2018. The plea argues that the authorities’ failure to “draft, design, and implement a public health program for the prevention and reduction of suicides in India” violates Section 29 and 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017, as well as Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution.

Bansal has alleged that the Delhi government has “failed to provide a healthy social atmosphere.” The plea contends that all states and Union territories have not implemented various provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 and should be directed to take appropriate steps for the prevention and reduction of suicides within their jurisdictions. It also requests that the authorities provide a status report on the steps taken to implement the public health program for suicide reduction and prevention.

Referencing the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report “Preventive Suicide – a Global Imperative,” the petitioner notes that young people are among the most affected, with suicide now the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 29 globally.

Read More: Supreme CourtDelhi High CourtStates High CourtOther CourtsInternational

Recommended For You

About the Author: Nunnem Gangte