New Delhi: Attempt to suicide, punishable by one-year jail term so far, will no longer be a crime with the government deciding to remove Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to decriminalise the offence.
Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary while giving this information in Lok Sabha today said the Law Commission of India, in its 210th Report, had recommended that Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of IPC needs to be effaced from the statute book because that provision is inhuman irrespective of whether it is constitutional or unconstitutional.
"Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to accept the recommendation of the Law Commission of India. A draft note, containing the proposal to delete Section 309 from IPC has been sent to the Legislative Department of the Law Ministry for drawing up a draft amendment bill," he said replying a written question.
Government had earlier said since law and order is a state subject, views of all states and union territories were sought on the recommendations of the Law Commission and 18 states and 4 union territory administrations have supported that Section 309 of the IPC may be deleted.
So far, suicide attempts in India are punishable by up to a year in prison or a fine, or both.
According to government data, 1,34,799 people committed suicide in 2013 compared to 1,35,445 in the previous year. There was no official data on the number of attempted suicides.
The Law Commission that recommended repealing of Section 309 of IPC in its 210th report in 2008 said that sympathy, counselling and appropriate treatment and not punishment will prevent a person from committing suicide.
It called Section 309 a "stumbling block in prevention of suicides and improving the access of medical care to those who have attempted suicide."