New Delhi: A Delhi court, which held a man guilty of attempting to commit suicide after being allegedly harassed by a policeman, said "it is unfortunate" that such "arbitrary, barbaric and anti-human" penal provision still stands in the statute book.
The court's observation came in a case of attempt to suicide in which a man consumed phenol in 2009 claiming that he was taking the extreme step due to alleged atrocities by a Station House Officer (SHO) of Sultanpuri police station here.
"It is unfortunate that the penal provision whereby a person is punished for attempting to take his life still stands in the statute book despite there being several discussions in legal fraternity to repeal such an arbitrary, barbaric and anti-human provision," Metropolitan Magistrate Manisha Khurana Kakkar said.
The magistrate said, "In fact such persons who have lost their natural instinct for self-preservation need indulgence, rehabilitation and not punishment".
The court is yet to pronounce the quantum of punishment for the offence under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of the IPC, which entails a maximum of one-year jail or fine.
While holding accused Amit Kumar, a resident of Rohini here, guilty, the court relied on the statements of the police officers, who got him admitted to the emergency ward of AIIMS, and his medical report which proved consumption of the chemical.
It also took note of photographs submitted by police showing a message scribbled on Kumar's hand which allegedly held the SHO responsible for the extreme step taken by him.
"From photographs of the accused placed on record it is apparent that the said words were written by him on his hand."
"Moreover, from his medical report it is apparent that phenol breath was present when he was taken to AIIMS hospital. Thus, it appears that he did attempt to take his life on that day," the court said.
According to prosecution, on the night of January 25,2009, Kumar attempted suicide by consuming phenol near All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here.
He was apprehended by some policemen who were on duty at the spot and was admitted to the emergency ward of AIIMS and a case was registered against him, it said.
It said while attempting suicide, he had written a message on his hand that SHO of Sultanpuri police station was harassing him and he was living under fear from cops.
During the trial, Kumar did not lead any evidence in his defence.