Mumbai, Dec 17: Social activist Pinki Virani is fighting for 'mercy death' of a rape victim who has been in a vegetative state for 36 years.
The victim, Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug, who was working as a nurse in Mumbai's KEM hospital, was sexually assaulted and sodomised in Nov 1973 by a ward boy.
The rapist strangulated the then 24-year old Aruna with a dog chain cutting off blood supply to her brain, leaving her blind, paralysed and speechless.
While the attacker, identified as Sohanlal Bartha Valmiki, was let off with just 7 years imprisonment, the victim continues to live her life as a vegetable.
For 36 years now, Aruna has been kept alive by the hospital staff who have force fed her crushed food.
Now, the supreme court is hearing a plea on her behalf from Virani who is seeking direction for her life to be ended.
The apex court bench comprising of Chief Justic KG Balakrishnan, Justices AK Ganguly and BS Chauhan wondered, "Is this plea not euthanasia?"
The law of the land does not allow Euthanasia, or mercy killing.
However, Shanbaug's lawyer argues, "Is not keeping a woman in persistent vegetative state by force feeding violate her right to live with dignity guaranteed by Article 21 (Right to Life) of the constitution?"