The Delhi High Court has rejected the plea of parents of two Indian Institute of Technology Delhi students, who allegedly committed suicide inside their campus hostel, seeking an “impartial investigation” into alleged caste-based discrimination against the students.
In its verdict on January 30, the High Court noted that it was aware of the plight and the agony of the grieving parents of the two young students. However, it added that the order for either registration of FIR or directing the Central Bureau of Investigation to investigate the matter cannot be passed “on the basis of mere sentiment or sympathy”.
The court took into account a status report filed by Delhi Police, which found that no complaint was ever given by any of the deceased students to the police, SC/ST Cell of IIT Delhi or to any of their friends on campus regarding any caste-based discrimination being faced by them.
“Moreover, nothing has come up during the enquiry to suggest that the deceased students faced any kind of caste based discrimination by the faculty members or staff in IIT, Delhi,” the High Court said.
According to the joint plea by the victims’ parents, the two were studying B.Tech (Mathematics and Computing) at IIT Delhi. On July 8, 2023, one of the students was found dead at his room in Udaygiri Hostel. The second student was found dead on September 1, 2023 in his room in Vidhyachal Hostel.
The parents complained that the two were “murdered with the conspiracy of IIT faculty members to hide the real facts and both the students have been falsely shown to have committed suicide”.
They also alleged that the students belonged to Scheduled Castes and had informed the parents about caste discrimination from the faculty as well as staff several times.
Counsel for Delhi Police submitted that the victims had been in depression, after having failed some of the subjects in the prior semester exams.
“This Court can understand the sentiments of the parents of the deceased and deeply discourages the growing trend of pressurising young minds to perform the best in every aspect of life leading them to take unfortunate steps,” Justice Rajnish Bhatnagar observed.
“It is high time that the faculty as well as other staff members of IIT make conscious efforts and take endeavours to counsel, encourage, motivate and invigorate the students,” he added.
“It is of utmost priority to make the young minds understand that though scoring good marks and performing your best is important but it is not the most important thing in life and one can certainly give his/her best without succumbing to the pressures or stress of performing better,” the judge said.
“The most significant way of instilling this into young minds who face challenges everyday in the professional and competitive environment of colleges is by teaching them in the very same campus where they spend years of their students lives, the values of prioritizing their health, be it physical or mental, which will also give them the confidence to face every challenge in life,” the order stated.
Those who require assistance for overcoming suicidal thoughts may contact Sanjivini, Society for Mental Health suicide prevention helpline 011-40769002 (10 a.m. to 7.30 p.m., Monday-Saturday).