The Patiala House Court, New Delhi on 4 March 2013 framed charges of allegedly attempting to commit suicide during her fast until death in the Capital in 2006 against Irom Sharmila Chanu, the Iron Lady from Manipur.
The Court framed charges against the Iron Lady for her attempt to commit suicide. The Court also issued a show cause notice to Irom Sharmila after she refused to plead guilty. She appeared before the court under Indian Penal Code 309 (attempt to commit suicide) for fasting at Jantar Mantar in Delhi.
Irom Sharmila Chanu
Irom Sharmila had been fasting for more than 12 years for repealing of the Armed Forces Special Powers Actb 1958, AFSPA. Sharmila began her fast till death after ten persons, including a boy who received the National Bravery Award, were shot dead in an alleged encounter with Assam Rifles personnel at Malom near Imphal Airport on 2 November 2000.
She is force fed, through her nose with a food pipe for more than a decade.
Armed Forces Special Powers Act, AFSPA
Violence became the way of life in north-eastern States of India. State administration became incapable to maintain its internal disturbance. Armed Forces (Assam and Manipur) Special Powers Ordinance was promulgated by the President on 22 May 1958. In which some special powers have been given to the members of the armed forces in disturbed areas in the State of Assam and Union Territory of Manipur. Later the Ordinance was replaced by the armed Forces Special Powers Bill.
Iron Sharmila had been fasting for repealing of the armed forces Special Power Act from the North Eastern States. Her fast till death is a process of silent protest that had been in existence in the nation from the pre-independence era to the post independence era. From Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the nation to Anna Hazare had carried on with their protests alongwith their demands by Fasting.
Article 19 of the Constitution of India deals with the right of expression and speech and as fasting is a process of expressing the thoughts against the government thus it can be considered as a part of Article 19. This right cannot be denied until and unless there exist an illegality in the process. In fact, none of the Indian Courts till date have banned fasts in India and every individual have the right to go on fast to protest against the government.
Under IPC 309 her indefinite fasting is regarded as the attempt to commit suicide.
IPC 309 Attempt to commit suicide-- Whoever attempts to commit suicide and does any act towards the commission of such offence, shall be punished with simple imprisonment for a term which may extend to one year 1 (or with fine, or with both.)