The Top Court says that Mental health of a person cannot be pressed into one size fits all approach

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The mental health of a person cannot be compressed into a ''one size fits all' approach, the Supreme Court has said while setting aside an order of the Karnataka High Court which quashed criminal proceedings against a government official in a case of abetment of suicide. A bench of justices DY Chandrachud and BV Nagarathna said the observation of the high court that there is no material to corroborate the allegations made in the suicide note is erroneous. "The Single Judge, other than deciding on the merits of the case while exercising the power under Section 482 of the 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," the bench said. The top court said it is not a consideration for the high court while exercising its power under Section 482 of the CrPC, particularly in view of the fact that the trial has not begun. The High Court had dismissed the charges against the officer, terming the driver a “weakling”. The High Court had also disbelieved the version that the dead man was under pressure, reasoning that he had met with friends and did not show any signs of being harassed or threatened. The High Court had said the behaviour of the deceased before his death was not that of a person who was depressed and suffering from mental health issues. “Behavioural scientists have initiated the discourse on the heterogeneity of every individual and have challenged the traditional notion of ‘all humans behave alike’. Individual personality differences manifest as a variation in the behaviour of people,” Justice Chandrachud observed, setting aside the High Court order quashing the case against the officer. The apex court noted that “an individual copes with a threat — both physical and emotional, expressing (or refraining to express) love, loss, sorrow and happiness, varies greatly in view of the multi-faceted nature of the human mind and emotions”. Thus, Justice Chandrachud, who wrote the 27-page judgment, said terms such as ‘weakling’ and measuring a person’s mental state by his outward conduct, etc, ‘deeply diminishes’ the gravity attached to mental health issues. Finally top court said "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 top court said the high court stalled the investigation by granting an interim order of stay.