Supreme Court cancels ‘One Size Fits All’ Order on Mental Health

Supreme Court Mental Health Law Insider

Chaini Parwani –

Published On: November 08, 2021 at 08:30 IST

The Supreme Court observed while overruling an Order of the Karnataka High Court which disallowed Criminal Proceedings against a Government Official in one case of Abetment of Suicide that the mental health of a person cannot be constricted into a “One size fits all” approach. 

A Bench comprising of Justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna stated that observation of the High Court that no material is available to authenticate the proclamations made in the suicide note is invalid.

The Bench observed “The Single Judge, other than deciding on the merits of the case while exercising the power under Section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), has also made observations diminishing the importance of mental health. The mental health of a person cannot be compressed into a one size fits all approach.”

Further, the Court highlighted that Single Judge of the High Court has titled a person who resolved to commit suicide a ‘weakling’ and has also made pronouncements on how the behaviour of the man before he committed suicide was not that of a person who is depressed and suffering from Mental Health Issues.

Furthermore, while highlighting the research by Behavioural Scientists the Bench stated that Scientists have challenged the traditional notion of ‘all humans behave alike’ and that Individual Personality differences manifest as a variation in the behaviour of people.

The Bench further in its recent Judgment informed that the observations describing the manner in which a depressed person ought to have behaved deeply diminishes the gravity of mental health issues.

The Government Officer’s driver died by suicide and left a note in which referred to the unlawful activities of the held in accumulating wealth in excess of ₹ 100 crores, Converting Black Money into white and Transferring Funds from the bank account of the person through his mobile to the accounts of the relatives of the Accused.

The Court stated that “The alleged suicide is of a person who was working as a driver of a Special Land Acquisition Officer, who is a public servant and against whom serious and grave allegations of amassing wealth disproportionate to the known sources of income were made by the deceased. The suicide note contains a detailed account of the role of the accused in the events which led to the deceased committing suicide. These are matters of investigation and possibly Trial.” 

The Supreme Court observed that the High Court prevented the probe by granting an Interim Order of stay.

Further, the Bench stated that there would have been a revelation of material facts which would aid in the trial against the accused if the probe had been permitted to proceed.

Click Here to Read/Download the Order


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