The Madras High Court on Monday told media houses to stop glorifying and publicising the deaths of National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test candidates by suicide, The Times of India reported. The court also noted that political parties needed to stop giving compensation to the families of the students if they wanted to prevent the deaths.
The court made the observation in response to an urgent mention about the suicides by advocate AP Suryaprakasam, and his request to initiate contempt proceedings against the Tamil Nadu government for failing to stop the deaths.
Suryaprakasam told the court that four students had died by suicide this year because the government had failed to comply with its order from 2017, according to The Hindu. The court had said in that order that it was the duty of the government to provide counselling to students, their parents and teachers.
Media reports however said that five NEET candidates died by suicide in Tamil Nadu last week. The exam, which is meant for admissions to medical courses, was held on Sunday.
Justice N Kirubakaran said that the media and political parties were to blame for the student deaths, according to The Times of India. “They [the political parties] line up before the victims’ families to give solatium,” he said. “This suggests that whoever commits such suicide would get the money.”
The judge added: “If this [coverage] is stopped by the media and political parties and no publicity is given for such incidents, it may stop.” He also advised Suryaprakasam to file a contempt of court petition against the state government.