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Thursday, June 14, 2018


(First Published on Volume 01 Issue 03, November 2016)

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1.1.                 Santhara is not Euthanasia
The most imperative recognizing highlight between Santhara and willful extermination is that, euthanasia is mainly motivated by physical reasons i.e. to dispose of the physical agony and enduring. Unexpectedly, the fundamental reason for Santhara is otherworldly i.e. the cleansing of soul.
It is a procedure of cleaning ones soul through Tapas or Penance, which prompts honorable end of this life and profoundly wealthier start of the following life.
Also, Bhagwati Aradhna classifies Santhara into two main categories, i.e., internal and external. Internal Santhara is to slowly minimize or diminish the four Kasaya (anger, attachment, ego and greed) whereas, external Santhara refers to slow detachment from body.
It is underlined that the external santhara is of no quality, in the event if it is not practice with the internal santhara. The external and internal santhara are indistinguishable and composite in entirety. However, in euthanasia, immaculateness of soul or purging of interior mental state or fortifying of other good virtues are given no thought by any stretch of the imagination.

The choice to start santhara and the subsequent method, in point of interest, rests totally with the entertainer; it is a simply deliberate act. Sarvarthsiddhi vehemently expresses that no outside organization or individual can drive anyone to attempt santhara.
Article 25 of Constitution of India 1950, guarantees every Indian citizen has a fundamental right to profess and practice his religion freely.This right is subject to interests of health, public order and morality. Any law which curtails the freedom guaranteed by the Constitution cannot have the sanctity of law and the same would be unenforceable by any authority or in any court of law.
It is submitted that the practice of santhara does not interfere with public order, health or morality. Santhara is zenith of radiance of life and demise. It is not an immolation but rather advancement of soul. It is not a tragedy. Article 26 lays down that every religious denomination or any section thereof shall have the right to manage its own affairs in the matter of religion.
An individual right to practice santhara is also safeguarded by right of privacy. This practice of santhara has been prevalent from time immemorial and was also taken in consideration by Privy Council in the year 1863.
The privilege is additionally ensured under Article 29 of the Constitution of India. It can't be denied that the minorities have their own particular society and in this manner any area of the natives dwelling in the domain of India having society of its own has the privilege to conserve the same.
In the case of The Commissioner, Hindu Religious Endowments, Madras v/s Sri Lakshmindra Thirtha Swamiar of Sri Shirur Mutt[1], The Seven Judges Constitutional Bench of the Hon’ble Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Mahajan, stated that- “Religion is a matter of faith with individuals or communities and it is not necessarily theistic. There are well known religions in India like Buddhism and Jainism which do not believe in God or in any Intelligent First Cause. A religion undoubtedly had its basis in a system of beliefs or doctrines which are regarded by those who profess that religion as conducive to their spiritual wellbeing, but it will not be correct to say that religion is nothing else but a doctrine or belief. A religion may not only lay down a code of ethical rules for its followers to accept, it might prescribe rituals and observances, ceremonies and modes of worship which are regarded as integral parts of religion, and these forms and observances might extend even to matters of food and dress.’’
Hon'ble Supreme Court in Smt. Gyan Kaur v. State of Punjab[2] stated that, “a question may arise, in the context of a dying man, who is, terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state that he may be permitted to terminate it by a premature extinction of his life in those circumstances. This category of cases may fall within the ambit of the 'right to die' with dignity as a part of right to live with dignity, when death due to termination of natural life is certain and imminent and the process of natural death has commenced.”
It is hence derived out that freedom of religion in the Constitution of India is not kept to religious beliefs only; it reaches out to religious practices and is also subjected to the limitations which the Constitution itself has set down.
It can't be denied that Jains have their own particular society and along these lines any segment of the natives living in the domain of India having society of its own has the privilege to monitor the same. The Jain people group is a religious minority group, furthermore, it is a social minority and in this way it is the order of the Constitution that the State shall not impose upon it any other culture which may be local or otherwise. The State has no power to coerce Sadhak who has taken the vow of santhara. In terms of statistics, santhara is embraced both by men and women of every single class and among the instructively forward Jains. Santhara is thought to be a presentation of most extreme devotion, decontamination and reparation. Religious and philosophical convictions assume an essential part in the social acknowledgment of ceremonies like santhara. For Jains, as additionally for Hindus, for example, the ideas of moksha and resurrection are connected to the nature and nature of death. The motivation behind santhara is to purify the soul, set it up for resurrection and, by picking demise through this technique, turn into the determiner of the following birth. The idea of a wonderful demise as the ideal end to this life and the perfect start of the following is founded on philosophical, otherworldly and religious fundamentals. Yet, it is unrealistic to survive legal examination under the current legitimate structure. The main trust in santhara, it appears, lies in decriminalization of suicide and lawful acknowledgment of willful extermination.

[1] AIR 1954 SC 282.
[2] JT 1996(3) SC 339.

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