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Rajasthan HC bans starvation ritual 'Santhara', says fasting unto death not essential tenet of Jainism

Rajasthan HC bans starvation ritual 'Santhara', says fasting unto death not essential tenet of Jainism

On average 240 Jains practice 'Santhara' until death each year in India.

Jaipur: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday banned Jain ritual of 'Santhara' making it punishable under section 306 and 309 IPC (Abetment of Suicide).

"Santhara or fast unto death not essential tenet of Jainism, " the court said.

A Public Interest Litigation(PIL) challenging the legality of 'Santhara' was filed in the high court in 2006.

The petitioner's lawyer had said 'Santhara' which is fast unto death by giving up food and water is in violation of the Right to Life. If euthanasia is not allowed, practice of Sati is banned and suicide is illegal, 'Santhara' cannot be allowed either.

The community lawyers had argued that 'Santhara' is a spiritual practice since times immemorial which the court must not interfere with.

It is also known Sallekhana Vruta. According to the Press Trust of India, on average 240 Jains practice sallekhana until death each year in India.

first published:August 10, 2015, 18:49 IST