The Supreme Court has highlighted the role of parental pressure in the increasing number of student suicides across India. In a plea seeking regulation of coaching institutes and citing data on student suicides, the court acknowledged the intense competition and pressure exerted by parents on their children preparing for competitive exams. However, the court expressed its limitations in passing directions in such a scenario.
The bench, consisting of Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, emphasized that it is the parents who are primarily responsible for putting pressure on their children. They stated that it is challenging for the court to intervene in this matter. Justice Khanna acknowledged that while most people would not want coaching institutes to exist, the conditions in schools force students to seek additional support from these institutes. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data for 2020 revealed that around 8.2% of students in the country die by suicide.
The court suggested that the petitioner, Mumbai-based doctor Aniruddha Narayan Malpani, approach the government with his suggestions instead of seeking directions from the court. The petitioner’s plea aimed to regulate private coaching institutes that profit from coaching students for competitive entrance exams such as IIT-JEE and NEET. The plea emphasized that these institutes prioritize financial gain over student well-being, leading to immense pressure on young students and ultimately resulting in suicides. The petition also highlighted the subpar and abnormal living conditions in these coaching factories, which severely impact students’ mental health.
The plea argued that student suicides are a grave human rights concern and criticized the government’s lackadaisical approach in enacting legislation to address the issue. It accused the government of neglecting the constitutional right to live with dignity guaranteed under Article 21. The court allowed the petitioner to withdraw the plea and advised them to pursue their suggestions with the appropriate forum.
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