The Supreme Court on Monday restored the Jain religious practice of a ritualistic fast unto death by staying an order of the Rajasthan High Court, which compared it to an act of suicide.
A three-judge Bench, headed by Chief Justice of India H.L. Dattu, stayed the August 10 order of a Division Bench of the High Court on the basis of petitions filed by members of the Jain community.
|Santhara a component of non-violence: SC|
|RELIGIOUS PRACTICE:Santhara is a Jain ritual of fasting unto death.|
|NOT CONSULTED:The Supreme Court said that Jain scholars were not consulted by the High Court before it criminalised the practice.|
The petitions complained that the High Court, based on incorrect observations on Jainism, criminalised the philosophy and “essential” practice of Sallekhana/Santhara, a fundamental component of the Jain principle of ahimsa (non-violence). The court issued notice to the Centre and Rajasthan on the question raised in the petitions whether “essential and integral parts of a religion can be restricted by the State”.
The petitions said the High Court order infringed on secularism. It criminalised Santhara without even consulting any scholars of Jainism or findings to substantiate that the practice was against public health, morality and order, they said.