Political leaders welcome Supreme Court judgement on euthanasia pleaMarch 7th, 2011 - 9:32 pm ICT by ANI
New Delhi, Mar 7 (ANI): Cutting across party lines, political leaders today welcomed the judgement of the Supreme Court, which rejected the petition filed by author Pinki Virani for the mercy killing of comatose nurse Aruna Shanbaug.
Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) leader Brinda Karat supporting the verdict of the apex court said the cases of mercy killing needed to be decided on each matter’s individual merit.
“See, in cases like this, you cannot have a blanket approach. Therefore you have to go on a case-by-case basis and in this particular, very tragic case. So, the Supreme Court, which had all the information before, took a decision, perhaps in the best interest of the patient. But I believe, in cases like this, it has to be done on a case-by-case basis,” said Karat.
Meanwhile, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Balbir Punj said the issue is sensitive and permissions for mercy killing can easily be misused.
“It’s a very sensitive issue and if these kinds of permissions are granted easily, we cannot deny the fact that it will be misused. So the verdict of the apex court surely would be considering all these facts,” said Punj.
“If we actually look at both the alternatives, they are very difficult in itself because if a person survives for 37 years in this physically challenged manner, it is not good whereas pleading for his mercy killing which he himself cannot file, so some other person is doing that on his behalf, so it is also not a very good alternative. So genuinely, we should welcome the order of apex court,” he added.
Noted criminal lawyer and senior BJP leader Ram Jethmalani, however, withheld his comment on the court’s order.
“I can’t comment on a judgment which are not read. It is very likely that they must have said it is desirable, but you should go to the legislature and ask them to amend the law. That’s a very legitimate thing to do, because they have not said that euthanasia is not desirable. So read the judgment first before you comment upon it,” said Jethmalani.
The Supreme Court earlier today rejected the petition filed by author Pinki Virani for the mercy killing of comatose nurse Aruna Shanbaug, confined to a bed in Mumbai’s King Edward Memorial Hospital for the last 37 years in a vegetative state after a brutal sexual assault.
A bench of Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Misra said passive euthanasia would occur when medical treatment is withheld or withdrawn leading to the death of a terminally ill person.
Active euthanasia is generally referred to a state where a patient is given a lethal injection or through any other method allowed to die in presence of doctors, while passive euthanasia involves withdrawing the life support system from a patient.
The bench further clarified that until Parliament enacts a law, its judgement on active and passive euthanasia will be in force. However, the guidelines with regard to passive euthanasia were not immediately available.
The court said passive euthanasia can be voluntary and non-voluntary. It is voluntary if the patient requests mercy killing.
Non-voluntary passive euthanasia is that of Shanbaug’s case - when the patient is incompetent to decide for herself. In such cases, the decision has to be taken by a surrogate, a proxy or family or by a panel of doctors, the court ruled
The plea for Aruna’s mercy killing had been made by Pinki Virani who told the court that she cannot see or speak properly and keeping her alive violates her right to live with dignity. (ANI)
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