Millennium Post

Section 309: Cops grapple with legal nuances after slapping attempt to suicide case on jilted lover

He was recovering from a surgery when the cops approached him. It was probably the doctors in the hospital who called up the police for something they felt did not quite add up in the version of a 32-year-old man who allegedly stabbed himself with a long knife, he said, he usually used to chop vegetables with. His stomach was almost ripped wide open.

The police started to record his statement. He said: “Sir, I am Shiv Kumar (name changed). I work as a cook at a bungalow in Panchsheel Park. Four months ago, I fell in love with the woman who works as a domestic help in the same bungalow and she reciprocated my feelings. However, she could often be seen mingling with another young male servant working with us, exchanging amorous glances. This made me feel terrible.”

He continued: “One day, I told her that I would take an extreme step if she continues doing that and she convinced me that I had misunderstood her. And when, on June 16, I caught the two in a compromising state, I could not withstand it. I picked up the knife and thrust it inside me with all my strength.”

He started crying and said: “I am to be blamed for this incident; only me and nobody else. I ensure complete lucidity during the time my statement has been recorded at the hospital where I am presently being treated.” 

The cops look at each other, confused about what to do. They consulted their senior and then registered a case under Section 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of IPC on the same day (June 17) at the Malviya Nagar police station.

“This is probably the only case registered under Section 309 IPC this year. However, almost from the past few years, Delhi Police stopped keeping <g data-gr-id="46">record</g> of cases registered under this section,” said a senior police official. Even he — an official of deputy commissioner rank — was confused about the issue. 

He said it was largely because of the media reports surrounding the controversial IPC section since December last year when Minister of State for Home Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudhary said in the Rajya Sabha that the government has ‘decided’ to drop Section 309 from the Indian Penal Code — which is to decriminalise attempt to suicide — after 18 states and four Union Territories backed the recommendation of the 210th Law Commission Report.

After this announcement, no amendment bill — which has to be passed through both the Houses — to repeal the section was introduced by the government either in the winter session or the budget session of Parliament. 

“However, widespread media reports apparently interpreting the law to have been repealed have left some police officials confused,” said another senior official.

An official of joint commissioner rank added that there should be no confusion in this regard and for attempt to suicide cases, a person can be booked under Section 309 IPC as long as the section is not repealed.
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