Infanticide: The Transgression of the Right to Live शिशुहत्या: जीने के अधिकार का उल्लंघन

What is Infanticide?

When a child under the age of 1 has been deliberately killed, this act is known as infanticide. In the past, this practice was commonly used by different societies and many cultures also permitted this practice all around the world. But this practice is now considered to be an immoral crime and that must be stopped. However, many people still perform this horrifying act.

Given cultural beliefs about gender in India, female infanticide is much more common than male infanticide. Still, male infanticide can be seen in several incidents that occur daily.

Why do People Perform this Act?

Among several causes of infanticide, there are three common causes that make people perform this disturbing act:

  • Postpartum Depression:

Postpartum depression is one of the most common causes of infanticide. This condition generally occurs in women right after giving birth to their children. During this condition, women experience guilt or incompetence as a mother and often get thoughts of suicide or killing their own children. A very low percentage of women take this psychological issue seriously and seek medical help. As a result of which, many of them fail to save their children from themselves.

  • Conflicts between couple or Families:

Sometimes, conflicts between couple or two families or relatives can be a reason for infanticide. It has been observed these days that some misunderstandings between parents also result in the killing of their own child.

  • Unwanted Pregnancies:

Nowadays, the most common reason for performing infanticide is unwanted pregnancy. There can be several reasons like insufficient resources to raise a kid or no access to advanced forms of medical abortion or birth control. Sometimes, it can be because of illegitimate relationships.

  • Biological Causes:

Several societies perform infanticide because of beliefs derived from biological causes like the killing of physically or mentally disabled kids.

Infanticide Laws

In India, infanticide was banned by the East India Company after passing the Bengal Regulatory Act XXI of 1795, the Regulating Act of 1802, and the Female Infanticide Act of 1870. Nowadays, there are three main laws against infanticide in India:

  • Section 315:

According to Section 315 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, if an act is performed with the intent of causing the death of a child (0-2 years) after its birth or preventing it from being born alive, it is mentioned as infanticide. As per this section, if a person is found guilty of the act, will be punished for a term of imprisonment that can extend up to ten years or will be charged with a fine. If such type of act is performed to save the life of a pregnant woman, then it will be considered to be an act done in good faith.

  • JJ Act Section 75:

If a person tries to harass any child mentally or physically, he/she will be charged under this section. For this act, the guilty person will be punished with extendable imprisonment for up to ten years or charged with a fine of 05 lakh rupees or both.

This section is intended to prevent any kind of violence, abuse and harrasment against children including infanticide.

Considering increasing cases of infanticides in India, several other sections have also been charged depending on the circumstances of the killing of the child. These laws include sections 302, 318, 304, 304A, and many more.

Preventing Infanticide:

Infanticide is one of the most common and serious offences in India and it must be prevented. To prevent this act, the Government of India introduced and initiated the “Beti Bachao Beti Padhao” movement. This program is intended to protect the life of girl children and prevent gender discrimination. However, this initiative has only focused on female infanticide.

Now, there is a need to prevent male infanticide as well along with female infanticide because it has been observed boys are equally killed for some reasons or other just like girls.


How Paalonaa Can Help?

Paalonaa is a campaign that focuses on the issues of infanticide and unsafe abandonment. According to Paalonaa , it is important for everyone to understand that male infanticide is as common as female infanticide in India. Hence, the government should start some initiatives considering this perspective as well.


Also, people should know the difference between safe abandonment and unsafe abandonment. If someone doesn’t want to raise their kid or is unable to give proper care and nutrition to their child and wishes to leave their child, they must leave their kid in a safe place like cradle available in public places or on a hospital bed.

This type of abandonment is known as safe abandonment. But if someone leaves their kid on the road, underwater, under the soil, or where a child can get hurt easily, such type of abandonment is known as unsafe abandonment.

Any unsafe abandonment can lead to infanticide because there will be no safety or security available for the child’s health. Paalonaa appeals to the government that they must spread awareness about safe abandonment and reduce infanticide to a greater extent.

For this purpose, the government can utilise social media or television so that more and more people can know and understand how they can leave their children safely.


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