Will SC pull the plug on Aruna Shanbaug's life?

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Aruna Shanbaug
New Delhi, Mar 3: Aruna Shanbaug, the sexual assault victim who has been lying in a vegetative state for the last 37 years is pleading in the highest court of the country on a mercy killing petition. The case was presented before the Justice bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra.

They were shown a 10minute CD that showed the plight Aruna has to go through was played in court that elicited grave concern and pity for the sorry state Aruna was in.

Housed in the KEM hospital at present, the hospital is taking very good care of Aruna who was working in the very same hospital as nurse till Nov 27, 1973. She was sodomised by a ward boy after being chained that led to obstructed oxygen supply to the brain. She has been in a complete vegetative state since then.

The plea for euthanasia was submitted by author Pinky Virani, who is Aruna's friend and was rallying for 'right to die' for Aruna who has underwent a whole lot. She has also written a book 'Aruna's Story' on the plight of the victim.

The mercy killing plea was opposed by Dr Sanjay Narhari Oak, KEM hospital director whose diligent staff have been caring for Aruna for such a long time. "This is a case of passive euthanasia and not active. The hospital staff is really her best friend. Although we respect Pinki Virani, it is the hospital staff who has fed her, washed her even cut her nails. They feel that she is one of us and we greatly respect the KEM hospital. What they have done is marvellous," the bench noted.

The Senior counsel T R Andhiarujina acting as amicus curiae and Pallabh Sisodia, appearing for the staff of the KEM hospital had also vehemently opposed the mercy killing of Aruna. The Attorney General meanwhile commented that the Parliament had rejected the recommendations of the Law Commission that suggested euthanasia for terminally ill patients.

“Take a hypothetical situation, a person is in a coma after a car accident and kept alive by artificial methods for several weeks. The family cannot afford his treatment, can the son take a decision to end his father"s life?" Justice Katju asked Justice Vahanvati after fears that the mercy killing plea could act as a precedent for victims caught in property disputes.

An affidavit had quoted, “The very idea of withholding food or putting her to sleep by active medication nurses... is extremely difficult for anybody in the hospital to accept. Aruna has probably crossed 60 years and would one day meet her natural end. The doctors, nurses and staff of KEM are determined to take care of her till her last breath by natural process."

The case has been reserved for judgment on Monday.

OneIndia News

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