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Legal Developments Made In Section 309 Of The Indian Penal Code

Divyaraj Jain, National Law University and Judicial Academy, Assam


In 1968,the World Health Organization defined suicidal act as “the injury with varying degree of lethal intent” and that suicide may be defined as “a suicidal act with fatal outcome”. World Health Organization labeled, suicidal acts with non-fatal outcome as “attempted suicide.” Suicide has been an act of condemnation as well as commendation through the ages. According to WHO “around 8 lakh people around the world commit suicide while more than 25 of that attempted to commit suicide. The NCRB Report 2020 reveals that suicides were mostly caused by ‘family problems’ and ‘illness,’ accounting for 33.6 percent and 18.0 percent of total suicides in 2020, respectively. Other reasons for suicide included; Drug abuse/addiction (6.0 percent), Marriage related issues’ (5.0 percent), Love affairs (4.4 percent), Bankruptcy or indebtedness (3.4 percent), Unemployment (2.3 percent), Failure in examination (1.4 percent), Professional/career problem (1.2 percent), and Poverty (1.2 percent).” What ever may be the reason but the misery ends with the suicide however one who fails at that suffers further misery since it is considered as an offence and is punishable under Section 309,IPC. Many individuals now assume that Section 309 has been repealed or decriminalised as a result of the 2017 Mental Healthcare Act's passage. However, this act restricts the use of Section 309 of the aforementioned Code rather than repealing it. Due to several divergent rulings rendered by our Courts, there are many opposing views on whether Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code should be kept or repealed. By no stretch of the imagination can the protection of life and personal liberty guaranteed by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution be interpreted to entail the termination of life.1 It is also important to note that the Law Commission of India has also recommended decriminalizing of attempt to commit suicide in its 42nd and 210th reports. So far, the law on attempt to commit suicide is still based on the ruling of Supreme Court in Gian Kaur. This paper intends to analyse the legal developments made in Section 309 of Indian penal Code since Independence.


Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research

Abbreviation: IJLLR

ISSN: 2582-8878


Accessibility: Open Access

License: Creative Commons 4.0

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​All research articles published in The Indian Journal of Law and Legal Research are fully open access. i.e. immediately freely available to read, download and share. Articles are published under the terms of a Creative Commons license which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the IJLLR or its members. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of material therein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the IJLLR.

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