THE Supreme Court on Friday sought responses from the Centre and all States and Union Territories (UTs) on a plea seeking effective implementation of a public health programme for prevention and reduction of suicides in the country.
A bench of justices Arun Mishra and M R Shah issued the notice on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by advocate Gaurav Kumar Bansal, who has also sought a direction to all the States and UTs to start a project for providing support and advice through call centres and helplines to persons with suicidal thoughts.
Referring to data provided by the Delhi Police, the petitioner said that 140 cases of suicides of children below 18 years were recorded between 2014 and 2018.
The plea said that the failure of the authorities in “drafting, designing and implementing public health programme for the prevention and reduction of suicides in India is not only violative of section 29 and 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act, 2017 but is also in violation of Article 21 (protection of life and personal liberty) of the Constitution
Bansal, while referring to number of suicides committed by children in the national capital, has alleged in his plea that the Delhi Government has “failed to provide a healthy social atmosphere” here.
The plea said that all the States and UTs have failed to implement various provisions of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 and they should be directed to take appropriate steps for the prevention and reduction of suicides in their jurisdiction.
It said that the authorities should be asked to provide status report on the steps taken by them to implement public health programme for reduction and prevention of suicides.
Referring to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) report ‘Preventive Suicide – a Global Imperative’, the petitioner has said that young people are among the most affected and suicide is now the second leading cause of death for those between the age of 15 and 29 globally.