SC seeks doctors presence in Euthanasia mercy killing plea

The Supreme Court on Friday sought the personal presence of a 3-member team of doctors from Mumbai to assist it on the vexed question of permitting mercy killing of a rape victim virtually brain dead for the last 36 years.

Last Updated: Feb 18, 2011, 21:42 PM IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday sought
the personal presence of a 3-member team of doctors from
Mumbai to assist it on the vexed question of permitting
Euthanasia (mercy killing) of a rape victim virtually brain
dead for the last 36 years.

A bench of justices Markandeya Katju and Gyan Sudha
Mishra sought the presence of the doctors J V Divatia, Roop
Gurshani and Nilesh Shah at the next date of hearing on March
2 to help the court understand the content of the report
submitted by the team.
The bench sought the presence of the expert team as
purely technical terms were used in the report.

"It is quite possible that we may like to ask them
questions about the report which they have submitted, and
in general about their views in connection with euthanasia.

"On perusal of the report of the committee of doctors,
we have noted that there are many technical terms which have
been used therein, which a non-medical man would find it
difficult to understand. We, therefore, request the doctors to
submit a supplementary report by the next date of hearing in
which the meaning of these technical terms in the report is
also explained," the bench said in an order.

The apex court asked the Centre to take care of all
the travel and accommodation, besides payment of honorarium,
if any, to the doctors.

It also permitted the Dean of King Edward Memorial
Hospital and Pinky Virani, the petitioner, to present their
views at the next hearing.

The apex court passed the order at the mentioning period
after Attorney General G E Vahanvathi and amicus curiae T R
Andhyarujina agreed for hearing of the case on March 2.

On January 24, the bench had sought the Attorney
General`s response on the tricky issue as euthanasia is not
legalised in the country.
The apex court had also appointed a 3-member doctors`
team to examine the victim Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug and
submit a detailed joint report to it by the next date of
hearing.

"Euthanasia is one of the most perplexing issues which
the courts and legislatures all over the world are facing
today. This court, in this case, is facing the same issue and
we feel like a ship in an unchartered sea, seeking
some guidance by the light thrown by the legislations and
judicial precedents of foreign countries," the bench had said
in earlier an order.

The petition was filed by Pinki Virani, a writer, and
her friend who brought to the court`s attention the pitiable
state of the victim languishing in Mumbai`s King Edward
Memorial (KEM)Hospital and pleaded that Aruna be allowed to
die peacefully by withdrawing the food being supplied to her
forcibly.

PTI