As the nation waits with bated breath about the fate of the mercy killing petition filed on behalf of 60 year old nurse Aruna Shanbaug, the Supreme Court rejected the plea stating that "medical evidence and facts of the case" do not support euthanasia.
Justice Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra rejected the petition stating that active euthanasia is not permissible by law and "there is no provision under the statute or the constitution" to support it.
Aruna Shanbaugh is bedridden in a comatose state for 37 years, after a brutal sexual assault by a hospital sweeper on November 27th
, 1973, at the Mumbai's King Edward Memorial Hospital.
Petitioning Aruna's cause is her friend and social activist, Pinki Virani, who has also written a book on her. In her plea to the court, Pinki Virani said that Aruna, who is lying in a highly vegetative state for more than three decades, should not suffer anymore and must be given the dignity due to her.
The court said that only passive euthanasia, which involves withdrawal of life support systems, could be permissible provided the high court approves it. The opinion of close relatives of the patient, the government, doctors and staff of KEM Mumbai will have to be sought before the court can permit passive euthanasia.