Attempted Suicide No Longer a Crime

Wednesday, December 10, 2014
18 states and 4 Union Territories backed the recommendation (file photo: Reuters)

India has finally dropped attempted suicide from the list of crimes punishable by prison, acting on a 2008 recommendation of the Law Commission that deemed the suicide law "anachronistic" and "undesirable".

The government informed parliament of its decision in a written reply from the home ministry on Wednesday. Minister of state for home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) was dropped from the Indian Penal Code (IPC) after 18 states and 4 Union Territories backed the recommendation of the government panel for legal reform.

This is the second time that the Law Commission has recommended the repeal of Section 309. The first was in 1971, following which a bill to amend the IPC was passed by the Rajya Sabha in 1978. Unfortunately, before it could be passed by the Lok Sabha, the Lok Sabha itself was dissolved and the bill lapsed. It took another 36 years for attempted suicide to be decriminalized.

The World Health Organization (WHO) lists India as one of the countries with the highest suicide rates: 21.1 per 100,000 people in 2012.

The government said 134,799 people committed suicide in 2013, a rise of 11.9 percent over the previous year. There was no data available on the number of attempted suicides.

Welcoming the decision, BJP MP from Bihar and former Union home secretary RK Singh said it was "the right step taken by the government".

"People with suicidal tendencies deserve counselling, not legal action," he told reporters.

Section 309 was a law enacted under British colonial rule, under which anyone attempting to kill himself could be jailed for one year. Only a handful of countries in Asia still retain this colonial era law, including Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Singapore. All countries in Europe and North America have already decriminalized attempted suicide.

According to Reuters, the decision by the government potentially paves the way for the release of human rights activist Irom Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike for the past 14 years in protest against alleged army atrocities in Manipur.

Sharmila has been under detention throughout her fast, and is force-fed by tubes several times a day.

- Karan Singh

To Learn More:

India drops attempted suicide as a crime (by Tony Tharakan, Reuters)

Government decriminalizes attempt to commit suicide, removes section 309 (by Bharti Jain, The Times of India)

What law commission recommended on attempt to suicide (The Times of India)

Reform 04: Obsolete Laws to be Junked (by Karan Singh, AllGov India)

Comments

Teige 7 months ago
Så flott! Dette har jeg aldri sett bli gjort før :) Men burde jo ikke fobusrae meg at du har funnet på noe så genialt ;)Klem fra Linda
David 1 year ago
A CRUEL JOKE WITH COL & BRIG 6th PAY COMMISSION AND ONE RANK ONE PENSION SANCTION 1. IN INITIAL STAGES OF 6th PAY COMMISSION FORMULATION. GOVERNMENT & SERVICES CHIEF WERE BENT UPON TO GIVEBETTER BENEFITS TO COL & BRIG. IT WAS THEIR SINCERE EFFORT TO RESTORE IMAGE & BENEFITS TO COL & BRIG.2. THE 6th PAY COMMISSION [ BY MISTAKE /OR OTHERWISE] GAVEBENEFITS TO Lt COL & THEIR EQUALS [PAY BAND-3]. HENCE COL/BRIG WERE PUT ON BACK FOOT AGAIN.3. LATER ON MAJ GEN/LT GEN PAY/PENSION WAS ENHANCED, BUT COL/BRIG AGAIN FORGOTTEN4. AFTER SOME TIME LT COL WERE PUT ON PAY BAND-4.AT THIS STAGE AGAIN COL/BRIG FORGOTTEN5. TO ADD FURTHER A DIG WAS ONE TIME JUNIOR TO COL HASBEEN PUT AT PAR WITH BRIG. [IT IS WORTH MENTIONING THAT POLICE HAS GONE ONE RANK UP ALREADY DURING COAS MALHOTRA TIME.HE DID HIS BEST TO REVERSE POLICE ACTION, BUT COULD NOT DO SO & DID NOT UPGRADE RANK OF HIS FORCES. TO-DAY BRIG EQUAL IS ONLY DIG IN INTER-SE SENIORITY Remember the IV CPC recommended the same pay for Director, Lt Col and DIG. After prsottes from the police, pay of both Lt Col and DIG were increased at the time.6.THUS THE BRIG RANK HAS BECOME DEFUNCT FOR GOVT AND COL HAS BECOME JUNIOR TO DIG.7.IN ONE RANK ONE PENSION CASE Majors and Maj Gen will be the ones who will get the max benefit, being at The top of PB3 and PB4 respectively (just like S-28/29 Scale Officers are at The top of PB4).MAJORS WHO COULD NOT GET PROMOTION DUE TO LACK OF PERFORMANCE WERE MADE LT COL [TS] AS A GOOD GESTURE. LATER ON THEY WERE EQUATED WITH LT COL[SELECTION GRADE]THEN AGAIN THET WERE PUT IN PB-3[BY MISTAKE/OR OTHERWISE.]RECENTLY LT COL IS SHIFTED TO PAY BAND-4LT COL[TS] HAVE GOT TREMENDOUS JUMP IN 6th PAY COMMISSION & FURTHER UP NOW MOVED TO BAND-4[ALLMOST NOW EQUAL TO COL/BRIG] [LT COL THE HO GAI BALLE BALLE ]WHERE IS REWARD TO COL/BRIG WHO WORKED HARD FOR PROMOTION & ORGANISATIONAL GROWTH,ALL THEIR LIFE8.COL/BRIG CASE HAS FURTHER GONE DOWN.ALL THE EFFORT OF GOVT/SERVICES CHIEF TO GIVE BENEFIT TO COL/BRIG HAS GONE IN REVERSE GEAR.9. SUPREME COURT HAS ORDERED AFTER 6th PAY COMMISSION TO HAVE SEPARATE PAY COMMISSION FOR COL/BRIG, BUT THEIR SEEMS TO BE NO HEAD WAY.10, COL/BRIG ARE IN FORE FRONT DURING PEACE/WAR AND WITH DIRECT COMMUNICATION WITH MEN.COL/BRIG ISA KING PIN BETWEEN TROOPS & HIGHER UPS.KINDLY DO NOT LOWER MORALE OF COL/BRIG WHO IS REAL LEADER IN ACTUAL FRONT DURING PEACE/WAR & A GREAT MOTIVATOR FOR TROOPS.

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