India decriminalizes suicide attempt

The Government of India has decriminalized the attempt to commit suicide by deleting Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code from the statute book, that said a suicide bid is punishable with imprisonment of up to one year or with a fine, or both. The government made the decision after 18 states and 4 Union territories backed the recommendation of the Law Commission of India on the issue. Five states including Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Punjab and Sikkim expressed reservations against the move, and the government is examining their views before taking the draft ICP (Amendment Bill) to the Cabinet. The bill will then be brought to Parliament. The commission however resolved to recommend the government initiate steps for repeal of the anachronistic law, while mentioning how only nations like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Singapore and India have 'persisted with the undesirable law'. Some media now says India needs to go a step further and initiate a national debate on euthanasia.