Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud on Saturday, 25 February, expressed concern over instances of alleged suicides by students and said his heart goes out to the bereaved kin of the victims.
He said he was wondering where our institutions are going wrong, that students are forced to take their lives.
Referring to the incident of the alleged suicide of a Dalit student recently in IIT Bombay, he said such incidents, involving victims from marginalised communities, are becoming common.
Delivering the convocation address at The National Academy of Legal Studies and Research (NALSAR) in Hyderabad, the CJI said judges in India have a crucial role in initiating dialogue with the society inside and outside the courtrooms to push for social change.
“Only recently I read about the suicide of a Dalit student at IIT Bombay. It reminded me about the suicide of an Adivasi student at National Law University in Odisha last year.”
“My heart goes out to the family members of these students. But I also have been wondering where our institutions are going wrong, that the students are forced to give up their precious life,” the CJI said.
Darshan Solanki, a first-year student hailing from Gujarat, allegedly died by suicide on 12 February at IIT Bombay.
Identify the problem
“In these instances, incidents of suicides from marginalised communities are becoming common. These numbers are not just statistics. They are stories sometimes of centuries of struggle. I believe that if we wish to address this issue the first step is to acknowledge and recognise the problem,” Justice Chandrachud said.
He said he has been emphasising the mental health of lawyers and equally important is the mental health of students.
He further said not only must the education curriculum inculcate a sense of compassion among students but the academic leaders must also be sensitive to their concerns.
“I think the issue of discrimination is directly linked to the lack of empathy in educational institutions,” Justice Chandrachud added.
As the Chief Justice of India, apart from judicial and administrative work, his effort is also to throw light on the structural issues which confront society.
“Therefore, promoting empathy must be the first step which education institutions ought to take,” he said.
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