An attempt to commit suicide is punishable under the Indian Penal Code with a years imprisonment. However,a recent ruling by a Delhi court has said that such a harsh punishment is not justified for a person who is driven to attempt suicide to by extreme poverty and destitution.
Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar gave the ruling while letting off a man,convicted for attempting suicide by consuming sedatives. The court awarded a token punishment of imprisonment till the rising of the court. The court also acquitted him of the charges of trying to kill his wife and five daughters by giving them drinks laced with sedatives.
Attempts to commit suicide are made due to extreme poverty and helplessness. There is no justification for imposing severe punishment on such convicts. The case like the present one in which the accused attempted to commit suicide due to poverty,helplessness,economic conditions and other pressing circumstances should be taken liberally and lesser sentence should be awarded to them, said ASJ Kumar. The convict was given the lenient sentence after he pleaded guilty to attempting to commit suicide out of penury.
The court noted that the convict had taken the drastic step due to abject poverty,debts and difficulty in maintaining a family comprising his wife and five daughters. He had also undergone a by-pass surgery.
As per the prosecution the convict had given soft drinks laced with Diazepam to his wife and daughter with an intention to kill them and then consumed the same drink himself. The family was found unconscious when a friend of one of the girls visited their house,after which police were alerted.
The judge noted that the convicts wife and daughters were the material witnesses but had not deposed a single word against him.