New Delhi: A Jain body on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court challenging Rajasthan High Court order that had termed 'santhara', a religious ritual of fasting until death, as illegal.
Sthanakvasi Jain Shravak Sangh, in its petition before the apex court, sought a stay on the high court judgment, claiming it was passed without appreciating the basic philosophy and tenets of the Jain religion.
The Rajasthan High Court had on August 10 had held 'santhara' as illegal making it punishable under section 306 and 309 of IPC related to abetment of suicide.
The petition claimed that the high court erred in equating the religious practice with the offence of suicide while the fact is a "vow taken to purify the soul".
"Santhara is an ancient and old practice as old as the religion as the faith itself and the observations of the High Court in this regard is exfacie wrong and the references to the practice are found as far back as in Samvat 1389," the plea said.
"Article 25 (of Constitution) protects a right of every person to the 'freedom of conscience' which entitles a person to a right to have his own beliefs and faith and as such the so called 'modern' thinking cannot be imposed on the members of the Jaina Community," it said.
The petition came in the backdrop of protests by the community in Rajasthan and some other states against the high court order.