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Remove Ban on Santhara/Sallekhana

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Sallekhanā /Santhara is the Jain practice of facing death voluntarily at the end of one's life.[1][2] It is prescribed both for the householder and ascetics. Sallekhana is made up from two words sal (meaning 'properly') and lekhana, which means to thin out. Properly thinning out of the passions and the body is 'Sallekhanā'.Sallekhana is allowed only when a person is suffering from incurable disease or great disability or when a person is nearing his end. It is a highly respected practice among the members of the Jain community.According to Jain Agamas, sallekhanā leads to ahimsā (non-injury), as person observing sallekhanā subjugates the passions, which are the root cause of himsā (injury or violence). There is a similar Hindu practice known as Prayopavesa or sanjeevan samadhi.

Sallekhana is not an exercise in trying to achieve an unnatural death, but is rather a practice intrinsic to a person’s ethical choice to live with dignity until death.

The Rajasthan High Court verdict banning 'Santhara', a Jain ritual of voluntary fasting to death, and making it an offence under Section 309 (attempt to suicide) of IPC has been challenged in the Supreme Court.

The HC on August 10 declared the practice of Santhara or Sullekhana as illegal and held that any person supporting the practice would be prosecuted for abetment of suicide. A person, after taking a vow of Santhara, stops eating and drinking water and awaits death.

The appeal challenging the HC order was filed in the Supreme Court by one Dhawal Jiwan Mehta.

The HC had said that Santhara was not an essential religious practice of the Jain community which was to be protected under right to freedom of religion under Article 25 of the Constitution.

 

Santhara is fasting unto death and it is not forced and is non violent . Comparing Sathara to suicide hurts our religious sentiments. 



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