Monday, March 7, 2011

SC: Decriminalise attempt to suicide ,Erase Punishment In IPC, Says Court

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday observed that time has come to decriminalise attempt to suicide by erasing the punishment provided in Indian Penal Code and recommended to Parliament to examine it. “We are of the opinion that although section 309 of IPC (attempt to suicide) has been held to be constitutionally valid in Gian Kaur's case by the Supreme Court, the time has come when it should be deleted by Parliament as it has become anachronistic,” said a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra while delaing with the issues relating to euthanasia.
“A person attempts to suicide in a depression, and hence he needs help, rather than punishment. We therefore recommend to Parliament to consider the feasibility of deleting section 309 from the Indian Penal Code,” said Justice Katju while writing the judgment for the Bench.
The Law Commission in its 210th report to the government on October 17, 2008, had differed with its earlier 156th report in 1997 subscribing the retention of attempt to suicide as a penal offence. In its 210th report, the Commission had recommended to the government to “initiate steps for repeal of the anachronistic law contained in section 309 of IPC, which would relieve the distressed of his suffering.” Only a handful of countries in the world like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore and India have persisted with this undesirable law, the Commission had said. On euthanasia, the Bench referred to a consitution Bench judgment in `Gian Kaur Vs State of Punjab' [1996 (2) SCC 648], which held that both euthanasia and assisted suicide were not lawful in India.
The constitution Bench had ruled that right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution did not inlcude right to die. It also said that euthanasia could be made lawful only by legislation.
Justice Katju said as the Supreme Court in Gian kaur's case had conceded that “the debate even in such cases to permit physician assisted termination of life is inconclusive”, no final view on the isue of euthanasia had been taken. It laid down the law and the procedure on passive euthanasia.
The Law Commission's 196th report to the government on April 28, 2006, had comprehensively dealt with the issue of euthanasia in a 435-page analytical volume which included a draft Bill.
The recommendation was identical to what the apex court ruled on Monday.

No comments:

Post a Comment