The campaign for decriminalising attempt to suicide got the biggest boost ever, with the Centre submitting before the Delhi high court on Wednesday that it is considering scrapping Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which provides for its punishment.
Currently, attempt to suicide is an offence attracting a imprisonment for a year or fine or both. The court was hearing a PIL seeking scrapping of the section, which 25 out of 29 states favoured its repeal.
The Centre's counsel Jatan Singh said the issue will be taken up "during the next comprehensive amendment of the IPC, Criminal Procedure Code and the Evidence Act, set to happen within a year."
"After the court sought the centre's view, the 2008 report of the Law Commission, which recommended repeal of Section 309 of IPC, was referred to states as criminal law is in the concurrent list and is administered through states too," Singh said. The Supreme Court in its historic March 2011 judgment legalising passive euthanasia had recommended to Parliament to consider decriminalising attempt to suicide, terming it "anachronistic".
NGO Mental Health Foundation in its PIL said it came to the conclusion that factors driving people to commit suicide are economic, emotional, social and personal. "It's a manifestation of a diseased state of mind and it's unfair to punish persons who had already taken a decision to take the extreme step," it said.