Hearing a PIL seeking directions for grant of compensation to dependents of farmers and farm labour, who commit suicide due to debt trap, the Punjab and Haryana High Court bench has observed “it would be iniquitous to entertain the PIL for streamlining the State Government’s Policy for grant of compensation to dependents of farmers committing suicides commit, as we are presently of the view that giving compensation to dependents of farmers who committed suicides”.
The division Bench of the HC comprising Justices S.S. Saron and Lisa Gill, on Thursday adjourned the PIL jointly filed by Advocate H.C. Arora and Parvinder Singh Kittna, seeking issuances of directions to State of Punjab to streamline the Policy for grant of compensation to dependents of farmers and farm labour, who commit suicide due to debt trap. Petitioners were contending that as the Committees, who consider the claims for such grants, are headed by DCs, appeal of claimants against decisions of DCs, rejecting their claim, should be heard by some superior authority. They were also seeking review of all such claims, which had so far been rejected by DC-lead Committees.
The Bench however, expressed its clear cut view that such a policy amounts to encouraging the commission of suicides, notwithstanding the fact that attempt to commit suicide is a crime under the Indian Penal Code. The petitioner no-1 (Advocate H.C. Arora) however, relied upon a judgment dated March 7, 2011 delivered by the Apex Court, to the effect that although attempt to commit suicide is a crime, yet “time has come when it should be deleted by Parliament as it has become anachronistic. A person attempts suicide in a depression, and hence he needs help, rather than punishment.”Advocate Arora also argued that dependents of such persons, who committed suicide, should not be punished for the folly of head of the family.
The Bench was of the view that petitioner instead should have raised the issue as to how the commission of such suicides by farmers could be averted and adjourned the PIL to November 11, 2016, to enable the petitioners to consider whether they want to amend their present PIL, for claiming aforesaid relief regarding the measures that can be taken by the Government to avert the commission of suicides.
While adjourning the PIL, the HC Bench observed in its order that “It would be iniquitous to entertain the PIL for streamlining the State Government’s Policy for grant of compensation to dependents of farmers committing suicides, as we are presently of the view that giving compensation to dependents of farmers who committed suicides, amounts to giving incentive for committing suicides.”