The decriminalisation of suicide attempt is the right direction as now people who succumb to the temptation to end their lives will have recourse to counselling rather than ending up in a legal tangle.
The Law Commission that recommended repealing of Section 309 of Indian Penal Code said that sympathy, counselling and appropriate treatment and not punishment will prevent a person from committing suicide.
The report calls Section 309 a "stumbling block in prevention of suicides and improving the access of medical care to those who have attempted suicide."
This might sound true and possible for those who survive a suicide attempt and get a chance to live the life again, but, nothing can be done about those who succeed in their endeavours.
However, apart from the benefits of decriminalising suicide , authorities should also focus on the root causes that lead one to this "salvation from all ills of life."
The National Crime Records Bureau's (NCRB) report on suicidal deaths gives a clear idea on the reasons that lead a person to end his own life. The 2012 data on suicidal deaths in India revealed at least 1,35,445 people committed suicide that year.
The reasons listed include family problems, bankruptcy, poverty, dowry dispute, illness and addiction.
Among those who committed suicide as of 2012, 11.4% (over 15,000) were engaged in agricultural activities. In the last decade, at least two lakh farmers have ended their lives. The reasons for suicide include crop failure and financial burden.
Decriminalising of suicides is just a small solution to the whole conundrum of economic depravity and consequent social fallout. Financial assistance or a debt waiver will help reduce the number of farmer suicides.
Most women who commit suicide in India are married and succumb to pressure of dowry disputes or domestic violence. And most students take their lives under educational pressure or the pressure from parents to stand out in the crowd of thousands as is borne out by the bureau statistics.
So, revoking of Section 309 is just a small step. Poverty reduction, economic stability, more social acceptance to seeking counselling and psychiatric help and its availability will help deal with suicides..
Like Kirilov, the metaphysical hero of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Demons or The Possessed, expresses, "If it is all the same whether to live or not to live, everyone will kill himself and that's perhaps the only change that will come about."