Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Indian Court Bars Jain Practice of Santhara As Suicide

In India, the Rajasthan High Court, acting on a public interest petition, held that Santhara, a traditional Jain practice of starving oneself to death to attain salvation (background), is suicide under the Indian Penal Code. Thus Sec. 306 outlawing abeting of suicide and Section 309 outlawing attempted suicide apply. The court said in part:
The respondents failed to establish that Santhara is an essential religious practice without which the following of Jain religion is not permissible.
According to the Calcutta Telegraph, the activist who filed the suit says: "... Santhara is a way devised by the family to get rid of the economic burden of caring for its elderly." Jain organizations say they will appeal the decision.