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A few weeks ago, I posted about a messed-up ritual in the Jain religion known as sallekhana (or santhara) where you starve yourself to death.

A Jain nun waits to be fed

In India, the Rajasthan High Court had ruled that the practice would be considered suicide. Anyone who tries it (and, I suppose, fails), along with family members who go along with it, would be punished with jail time.

Jain activists argued that this was an assault on their religious freedom, but the Court said that sallekhana wasn’t a requirement in Jainism, so their decision didn’t infringe upon Jain rights.

Yesterday, however, India’s Supreme Court stayed the ruling, allowing the ritual to continue, at least for now, without punishment.

On Monday, the top court said it would take up the issue for consideration.

Legal experts say they expect the case to take several years to come to a conclusion.

How many people will die before they get around to hearing this case?

As I said before, there may be reason to allow the ritual if you believe people have a right to end their lives as they wish, but that’s not really what this is about.

Let’s hope the Supreme Court eventually upholds the earlier ban.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Larry for the link)

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Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.