Saturday, May 28, 2011

Section 309

This caught my attention about a month ago… “Section 309 to be amended”… I was like, will it not have a hell lotta consequences??? But, is it even ethical in its current state??? after a lotta googling I found out, to amend or not to amend has been a never ending debate… apparently, the Supreme Court in 1994 struck down section 309 as unconstitutional on the ground that it amounted to punishing the victim-accused twice… this verdict was, however, reversed in 1996… I have been trying to form an opinion about it a long time now… but everything about it confuses me!!! Now, what the heck is section 309, YOU would think???

The basis of section 309 is mens rea aka guilty mind, infact it is the basis for every penalization. The Indian Penal Code “Section 309” punishes attempts to commit suicide and any act towards it. Apparently, the attempt to commit suicide also needs a guilty mind, hence, the penalization. The debate has been as old is 1884, in Queen Emperor v Ramakka ILR 8 Mad 5, it was held that those attempting to end their lives because of family discord, distraction, loss of near and dear relation or any other cause of like nature overcoming the instinct of self-preservation, should not be held guilty. Even, renowned jurist Tej Bahadur Sapru in his Indian Penal Code (at page 258) said they deserve sympathy, indulgence and consolation instead of prosecution.

The Law currently holds section 309 as a deterrent, but the same was challenged by Justice P.B. Sawant in the Maruti Sripati Dubal case (1987) (Criminal Law Journal 743 Bombay), as he saw no justification in using section 309 as a deterrent. He said: “If the purpose of the prescribed punishment is to prevent the prospective suicides by deterrence, it is difficult to understand how the same can be achieved by punishing those who have made the attempts. No deterrence is further going to hold back those who want to die for a special or political cause or to leave the world either because of the loss of interest in life or for self-deliverance.”

Every person, at some point in time in their lives, while being in the so called “sane” or “insane” state, has considered suicide… it could be because of any reason… lack of money… lack of love… lack of basic amenities… lack of trust in near & dear ones… lack of near & dear ones… loss of all materialism… loss of family… loss of friends… loss of lover… in short, there is a loss of will… to live… this is generally termed as depression… by most!!!

well, if the person is already feeling that he/she is being punished by God/nature/whatever… why does the law want to punish them even more??? Thinking from this point of view, I feel that the law should be amended… but then I feel, that people may just use depression as an excuse to die rather than imbibe a will to fight… thaz when I feel, it should not be amended… but then I feel it takes a lotta courage to end your own life for whatever reason, so if a person is considering suicide, there must not be any other option, so I feel it should be amended… but everyone says that only cowards suicide… so maybe it never will be amended!!!


  1. O'oo dont knw the reasn why u have written ths or maybe I still spend life in greif instead of finishng it...becus smthng gud cn happen in life the way bad thng happened...!!!

  2. i agree.. u shdnt give up on life... i am an eternal optimist! but i do feel confused about the issue of whether or not LAW should decide whether or not one should WANNAlive or not!