The Supreme Court on Thursday termed as ”frivolous” a PIL seeking a direction to the Centre and IITs to formulate and implement a student wellness program to curb rising number of suicides in campuses and imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on the lawyer for filing it. The top court said the government was alive to the situation and dismissed the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by lawyer Gaurav Bansal on the issue of suicides in IITs across the country.
”This is an utterly frivolous petition. Tell us how much cost we should impose on you,” a bench headed by Justice R F Nariman said in the hearing conducted through video conferencing. ”We are dismissing it with Rs 10,000 as cost payable to the legal services authority,” said the bench which also comprised justices Navin Sinha and Indira Banerjee.
Bansal, during the brief hearing, said that around 50 students have died by suicides in IITs across India in the last five years and requested the court to intervene and direct the Union Education Ministry and IITs to formulate and implement a ’Student Wellness Program’. The lawyer said a committee headed by the IIT, Kanpur was formed to look into the cause of suicide by students, but there was no improvement in the situation. Referring to the reply of the Centre, the court observed that authorities were alive and aware of the issue.
The plea had sought a direction to 13 IITs to ”forthwith plan, design, formulate and effectively implement student health wellness programme focusing on prevention and reduction of suicides within their Institutions as provided under Section 29 and section 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act,2017”. Issue direction to IITs for providing aid, support and advice to persons with suicidal thoughts through call centres or helplines at institute level, it had said.