suicide in presence of police ?

A person was seen walking in very depressed state of mind and seeing here and there on a river bridge. From his gesture people guessed that he could jump in the river and commit suicide.  A police party on duty was also present there. The police party saw him and also remarked upon his gesture by saying that “ oye,  suicide karke kise jail bhejne ka irada hai?” there after the police party get engaged in checking the transport  vehicles. After few minutes that person jumped into the  river   and died. Whether   the police party is liable for his death and can be prosecuted  under IPC/ Mental Health Act or any other penal law?


Dear Sir, An interesting topic you have posted.  In my point of view, the 'inaction' by police cannot be subjected to IPC or Mental Health Act, though it may attract departmental disciplinary proceedings, if any eyewitness complains.  

Other views are solicited.




Hallo Dr. The basic constituant of an offence U/s.306 IPC are suicidal death and abetment thereof. Abetment the dic meaning is clear enough. Legally speaking to attract the ingridients of abetment , the intention of the police party to aid or instigate or abet the deceased to commit suiice is necessary

As per Concise Oxford Dictionary 9th Edition P 1393 Suicide is stated to mean as the intentional killing of oneself. Whether the decesaed has acted intentionaly to come under the purview of the word suicide or an act of mentally sick is not sure. 

To the best of my knowledge sir, intention is important. So from both the angle of IPC and MHA the police is not guilty os any offence.  

Your question is appreciated as it involes always some accademical touch. Thank you for putting such a subject in this forum.


I will shortly post a recent judgment of Australian High Court on this issue.


Stuart v Kirkland-Veenstra (2009) HCA 15 decided on 22 April,2009
Torts – Negligence – Duty of care – Where Mental Health Act (Vic), s 10 empowered police to apprehend person who "appears to be mentally ill" if reasonable grounds for believing that person had recently attempted suicide or likely to do so – Where police came upon man who appeared to have been contemplating suicide but showed no sign of mental illness – Interaction of common law and relationship established by s 10 – Whether duty of care to prevent foreseeable harm to man at own hand – Relevance of conditions engaging exercise of statutory power – Relevance of fact that duty alleged is duty to protect person from self-harm – Relevance of general rule against duty to rescue – Relevance of vulnerability of particular class of persons – Relevance of control over source of risk to persons.1986
Torts – Negligence – Duty of care – Where duty alleged to arise in context of power conferred by Mental Health Act , s 10 – Whether preconditions to existence of power established on facts – Whether common law duty could exist in absence of relevant power.1986

Torts – Breach of statutory duty – Relevance as alternative to action alleging breach of common law duty of care – Principles relevant to determining legislative intention that cause of action be available – Relevance of legislative provision for special measures to protect identifiable class of persons or property – Whether existence of discretion to exercise power inconsistent with existence of statutory duty.

Statutes – Interpretation – Whether person who has attempted suicide to be equated with person "mentally ill" – Relationship between attempted suicide and mental illness – Understanding at common law of relationship between suicide and mental illness.



Aforesaid is judgment of High Court of Australia.




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