With the government reiterating its stand in the Parliament to decriminalise attempt to suicide, five states — Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Sikkim and Delhi — have opposed the move on various grounds. The government decided to drop the section after getting the backing of 22 other states and Union Territories.
Bihar wrote to the Ministry of Home Affairs that repealing section 309 IPC (attempt to suicide) would benefit “suicide bombers” and “terrorists who consume potassium cyanide”. The state argued that in case of a botched attempt, the suicide bomber might try to take advantage of the situation as there would be no other section to book him under.
“Bihar has said that the section should not be deleted but modified to factor in cases of suicide attacks among other things,” said a senior government official.
Punjab said the absence of any deterrent law will encourage farmer suicide, and an attempt should be made to rehabilitate such victims.
Madhya Pradesh opposed it on the ground that hardly any arrests are made in such cases, and that this will encourage people to sit on fast unto death. “MP said that since these people cannot be booked under any other section, it would compromise the law and order situation,” said the official.
Sikkim also said that repealing the section would lead to law and order problems.
Delhi partially opposed the move, and said such people should be sent to authorised medical centres for proper care. Delhi also suggested that the police should be able to book people who try to kill themselves in public — by ways such as self immolation — under other sections.
Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parthibhai Chaudhary said the Law Commission of India, in its 210th report, had recommended that Section 309 of the IPC needs to be effaced from the statute book. He said that since law and order is a state subject, views of all states and UTs were sought on the Law panel’s suggestions.
“Eighteen states and four UT administrations have supported that Sec 309 of the IPC may be deleted. Keeping in view the responses from the states/UTs, it has been decided to delete Sec 309 of IPC from the Statute book,” he said in reply to a written question.