Thiruvanthapuram: As the euthanasia issue
came under spotlight in the wake of the landmark Supreme
Court verdict, a move is afoot in Kerala, where the Law
Reforms Commission has suggested legalising mercy killing
under certain circumstances.
Eminent jurist Justice V R Krishna Iyer, who headed
the commission set up by the LDF Government, had suggested
legalising euthanasia in cases where "death is the only
Justice Iyer had said euthanasia should be legalised
by abolishing the clause that makes attempt to suicide an
The proposal, drawn up in the form of a draft bill,
however, is pending with government for the last two years.
"Mercy killing could be considered in cases where
death is the only salvation and preservation of life would be
medically impossible and visited with insufferable physical or
mental pain," the proposal said.
It suggested that mercy killing should be carried out
with the written sanction of three state-recognised doctors
certifying that the patient under consideration is a fit case
The draft proposal suggests that legal sanction could
be accorded to euthanasia by abolishing section 309 of IPC,
which holds attempt to commit suicide as an offence.
There should at the same time be a safeguard clause
that no euthanasia shall be legal or be considered less than
homicide, if it takes place without the written sanction of
three doctors recognised by the state certifying in writing
that the case of the patient is a fit case for euthanasia.
Justice Iyer noted the IPC of "Victorian vintage" was
drafted and enacted by "McCauley, a great jurist of fossil
vision, which today has ceased to be humanities spiritual and
temporal norm. Necessarily, law must change when social
philosophy changes. It is in this context two basic penal
mutations have become necessary."
The Supreme Court had on Monday dismissed a plea for
mercy killing on behalf of a 60-year-old nurse Aruna
Ramachandra Shanbaug, living in a vegetative state for the
last 37 years in a Mumbai hospital after a brutal sexual