SC stays HC decision declaring 'santhara' as illegal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today stayed the operation of a Rajasthan High Court order terming as illegal the religious practice of "santhara", a ritual of fasting until death prevalent among Jain community members.

"Issue notice. Leave granted," a bench comprising Chief Justice H L Dattu and Justice Amitava Roy said while staying the HC order and issuing notices to the Centre, Rajasthan and others.

The bench was hearing a batch of petitions filed by various religious bodies of Jain community members against the High Court order on santhara. The pleas had sought a stay on the high court judgement, claiming it was passed without appreciating the basic philosophy and tenets of the Jain religion.

The Rajasthan High Court had on August 10 held 'santhara' as illegal making it punishable under section 306 and 309 of
IPC related to abetment of suicide. The petitions claimed that the high court erred in equating the religious practice with the offence of suicide.

The petition came in the backdrop of protests by the community in Rajasthan and some other states against the high court order.

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