In news that would shake your conscience and ideals, an elderly couple from Thakurdwar, near Charni Road, has written to the President’s office, seeking permission for “active euthanasia”, where a person is killed, usually by administering an overdose of painkillers.
The couple, Iravati Lavate, 79, a retired school principal, and her husband Narayan, 86, a former government employee, have no major health problems. However, the fear of falling terminally ill and of not being able to “contribute to society” has pushed them to write to the President to seek permission for “doctor-assisted death”, they said, reported Hindustan Times.
While present laws in the country do not allow active euthanasia, experts told HT the couple would have had a hard time even in countries that do because they don’t have any fatal health condition. Dr Roop Gursahani, neurologist, PD Hinduja and Research Centre, Mahim said that even countries where active euthanasia is legal, the requisite is that the patient must have a terminally ill disease.
“Physician assisted dying is possible in a few countries, all democracies with very effective law and justice systems. However, it is reserved for terminally ill patients with unacceptable suffering,” he said.
Gurusahani further added that no one should to have to ask to be put to death because they have no family to take care of them in their old age. The couple’s letter to the President says, “Both the petitioners are in reasonably good health, not afflicted by any serious ailment as on the date of this petition.”
It adds, “’It is unfair to compel them to wait till some serious ailment/deformity bells befalls on them (us) and would urge that they may be saved from such a contingency by passing sentence of death.” The couple wrote the letter on December 21. The President’s office said it is going through the fine prints of letter and will respond at an appropriate time. Lavate said he wrote to the President because the latter has the constitutional power to pardon life sentences, and should also have the power to allow ‘right to death’.