September 21, 2023

Supreme Court Rejects PIL Seeking Guidelines for Domestic Violence-Related Suicides by Married Men

The Supreme Court declined to entertain a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on Monday that sought the formulation of guidelines to address incidents of suicide committed by married men facing domestic violence. The PIL also called for the establishment of a “National Commission for Men” to protect the interests of such individuals. However, the apex court maintained that there was no justification for the creation of a commission, as the petitioner presented a one-sided narrative.

A bench comprising Justices Surya Kant and Dipankar Datta expressed their reluctance to consider the matter, emphasizing the need for a balanced perspective.

The petitioner relied on data from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) to highlight instances of suicide among married men stemming from marital stress. The plea argued that police should accept complaints filed by men in such cases and refer them to the State Human Rights Commissions until appropriate legislation is enacted.

In response, the court questioned the petitioner’s focus on presenting a unilateral picture, stating, “There is no question of misplaced sympathy for anyone. You just want to portray a one-sided picture. Can you provide us with data on young girls dying soon after marriage?”

The court further stated that while it recognized the gravity of the issue, individual cases must be examined based on their specific circumstances. It emphasized that criminal law already addresses such matters and ensures legal remedies are available.

Advocate Mahesh Kumar Tiwari, who filed the plea, referred to the NCRB’s 2021 data on accidental deaths in India. The data revealed that out of the 1,64,033 reported suicide cases that year, 81,063 involved married men, while 28,680 involved married women, according to the petition.

The Supreme Court’s decision not to entertain the PIL signifies its emphasis on considering all perspectives and maintaining a balanced approach when addressing issues related to domestic violence and suicide. While acknowledging the alarming number of suicide cases among married men, the court stressed the importance of evaluating individual circumstances and relying on existing criminal law provisions to provide appropriate remedies.