309. Attempt to commit suicide.

Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall he punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

Punishment—Simple imprisonment for 1 year, or fine or both—Cognizable— Bailable—Triable by any Magistrate—Non-compoundable.

The Supreme Court has set aside its earlier judgment in P. Rathinam/ Nagbhushan Patnaik v. Union of India, JT 1994 (3) SC 392, wherein the Court had struck down section 309 as unconstitutional. In a country where one-half of its population still live below the poverty line, the right to die by suicide cannot be granted to any person. Article 21 of the Constitution, which gives right to life and personal liberty, by no stretch of imagination can be said to impliedly include right to death by committing suicide. The section is also not violative of Article 14. There is no requirement of awarding any minimum sentence. The sentence of imprisonment or fine is not compulsory but discretionary;
Smt. Gian Kaur v. The State of Punjab, JT 1996 (3) SC 339.

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