Law on attempt at suicide to go

Attempted suicide may no longer be a criminal offence as the government has decided to do away with Section 309 of IPC

The government today said it has decided to repeal section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which makes attempt to commit suicide a criminal offence - a decision that will ensure people driven by circumstances to take their lives do not end up in prison instead.

With support from 18 states and four union territories, the centre is sure of getting rid of the harsh law that tends to put injury over scorn.

Section 309 of IPC makes the act of attempting suicide punishable with jail term of up to one year and fine.

Replying to a question in the Rajya Sabha today, minister of state for home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said the government had decided to drop section 309 from the IPC after 18 states and 4 union territories backed the recommendation of the Law Commission of India in this regard.

"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. As law and order is a state subject, views of states/UTs were requested on the recommendations of the Law Commission. 18 states and 4 Union Territory administrations have supported that section 309 of the IPC may be deleted. Keeping in view the responses from the states/UTs, it has been decided to delete section 309 of IPC from the statute book," the minister stated in the reply.

Welcoming the decision, BJP MP from Bihar and former union home secretary RK Singh said it was "the right step taken by the government".

"People with suicidal tendencies deserve counselling, not legal action," he told reporters outside Parliament.

According to section 309 of the IPC, "whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards commission of such offence, shall be punished for a term which may extend to one year of with fine, or with both".