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Section 309 of the IPC criminalizes attempted suicide as well as suicide assistance.
Section 309 states: “Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.”
Although section 309 is still not repealed, the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 has restricted its application. The relevant provision of the new act states:
“Not with standing anything contained in section 309 of the IPC, any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under section 309.”
Attempt to suicide is a serious problem requiring mental health interventions, but used to be treated as a criminal offence under the section 309 of IPC, till the MHA enacted in July 2018.
Suicide attempt can be defined as a non-fatal self-directed injurious behavior with an intent to die. The number of suicides in the country during this decade has doubled. Attempted suicide are at least 20 times more common than the successful suicide. Most countries across the world no longer criminalize the suicidal attempts, countries like USA and Canada, have started using words ‘died by suicide’ rather than ‘committed suicide’. The reason for that is, crimes are committed by criminals and suicide is not a crime (not even attempt to commit suicide is a crime in these countries). Therefore, ‘committed suicide’ or ‘attempted to commit suicide’ are not appropriate terms in try scenario.
Research suggests that factors of attempted suicide in adult and youth are childhood incidents such as sexual/physical abuse, performance anxiety, introduction to alcohol or drugs, grieving events such as death of a loved one, loss of a job, dead end in a relationship, bankruptcy, criminal prosecution or defamation and suffering from or diagnosed with a chronic disorder. Necessarily, people who attempt suicide are in need of help rather than punishment.
SO, WHAT MAKES A CHOICE, A CRIME?
Right to life, which is described under Article 21 of the Constitution also aids in giving citizens a right to live a life of dignity. A life with full control over it is supposedly guaranteed by the Constitution. The conflict, however, begins here. Liberty is guaranteed to an individual but no such right is given to end his life with his own will.
In this decade long debate it is observed that there is nothing unnatural about the desire to die and hence the right to die. The means adopted for ending one’s life may be unnatural varying from starvation to strangulation. But the desire is not unnatural. Suicide or an attempt to commit suicide is not a feature of a normal life. It is an incident of abnormality or an extraordinary situation or an uncommon trait of personality. Abnormality and un-commonality are not unnatural merely because they are exceptional , just like homosexuality.
Its further noted that the right to die or to end one’s life is not something new or unknown to civilization. Some religions like Hindu and Jain have approved of the practice of ending one’s life by one’s own act in certain circumstances. However, Christianity has condemned suicide as a form of murder. In contrast, the Quran has declared it is a crime worse than homicide. So, there’s no uniformity.
EVOLUTION OF LAWS
P Rathnam v. Union of India  held section 309 as unconstitutional and void as it violates Article 21. The court also observed that the provision is cruel and inhuman.
This proposition was overruled in Smt. Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab . The Supreme Court held that right to life is a natural right while suicide is an unnatural extinction of life.
Later, the Law Commission in its 210th report  said, “Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code provides double punishment for a person who has already got fed up with his own life and desires to end it.”
At last, by the Mental Health Care Act 2017 , which commenced in 2018, the scope of section 309 was limited without repealing it from IPC.
However, the Apex Court in Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug v. Union of India & Others  upheld the validity of Passive Euthanasia, aka assisted suicide, whereby the life support of a terminally ill patient is removed or halted. So, as far as India is considered, right to life does not include the right to die but provides for “right to die with dignity” which is facilitated by Passive Euthanasia only in certain permitted circumstances (vegetative state).
The recent, unfortunate demise of Actor Sushant Singh Rajput draw attention over mental health and laws related to suicide at large. As Phill Donahue quotes, “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem”.
Right to life, with a right to live a life of dignity does not certainly mean to live a forced life. Decriminalizing attempt to commit suicide would not actually result in increase in number of suicides but would encourage the survivors to seek help as suicide survivors need emotional and psychiatric support. However, I as an individual accept that completely scrapping it can prove counterproductive in cases like a human bomb, terrorist etc.
The World Health Organization recognizes suicide as a public health priority. As far as India is concerned, suicide is now viewed as one which requires treatment more than punishment, which is a great start in the long run.
[1 ] 1994 AIR 1844, 1994 SCC (3) 394
 1996 AIR 946, 1996 SCC (2) 648
 210th Law Commission Report, Humanization and Decriminalization of Attempt to Suicide, (2008)
 S. 115, Mental Health Care Act, 2017
 (2011) 4 SCC 454