On Monday, the Supreme Court asserted that the principal factors contributing to the escalating number of suicides nationwide are the “intense competition” and “pressure” imposed by parents on their children preparing for competitive exams. These observations were made during a hearing on a plea that sought the regulation of proliferating coaching institutes and referenced data on student suicides. Justices Sanjiv Khanna and SVN Bhatti, while expressing their concern, acknowledged the judiciary’s limitations in issuing directives in such a intricate scenario.
The bench conveyed to advocate Mohini Priya, representing the petitioner, Mumbai-based doctor Aniruddha Narayan Malpani, that parental pressure significantly influences these incidents, and issuing directives under such circumstances poses challenges. Justice Khanna recognized the competitive environment and the necessity for students to turn to coaching institutes due to the conditions of schools. Citing the 2020 National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, which highlighted an 8.2% student suicide rate in the country, Priya presented the information.
While acknowledging the situation, the bench expressed its incapacity to provide directives and recommended that the petitioner approach the government with the proposed regulations. Subsequently, Priya sought to withdraw the plea to pursue the matter through the appropriate forum, a request that the court granted.
Malpani’s plea underscored the importance of regulating private coaching institutes that profit from providing coaching for exams such as IIT-JEE and NEET. The petition highlighted the lack of oversight by the central and state governments, which contributes to student suicides. It expressed concerns about young students residing in subpar conditions in these coaching centers, adversely impacting their mental health. The plea urged the court to address the seriousness of the human rights issue posed by student suicides and criticized the government’s perceived indifference to enacting necessary legislation.