Making a distinction between active and passive euthanasia, the court stated that passive euthanasia is permissible under supervision of law but active euthanasia is not permitted under the law.
Passive euthanasia refers to the withdrawal of life-support under legal supervision whereas active euthanasia means putting an end to life through medical procedures that may include giving lethal injections.
The Supreme Court said that mercy killing plea filed by patients or relatives has to be examined by expert doctors and then put forth the concerned high courts for the final decision. The verdict will be in force till the Parliament enacts a law on euthanasia.
Dr Sanjay Oak, spokesman for the KEM Hospital, appreciated the verdict and promised to continue the care towards Aruna. He was quoted by CNN-IBN as saying, "I am grateful to the Supreme Court. We will continue our special care for Aruna. This is good that this topic will raise a debate on euthanasia."
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 hell of a lot. She has also written a book 'Aruna's Story' on the plight of the victim.