SC seeks doctors presence in Euthanasia mercy killing plea

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.