Asks it to dig deeper and lay down guidelines

New Delhi : Ten years after Delhi NGO Common Cause moved a PIL (public interest litigation) to declare the ‘right to die with dignity’ as a fundamental right under Article-21, the Supreme Court on Tuesday wriggled out from any decision, lobbing the ball to its larger Constitution Bench saying it requires careful consideration for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

“We refrain from framing any specific questions for consideration by the Constitution Bench as we invite the Constitution Bench to go into all the aspects of the matter and lay down exhaustive guidelines in this regard,” said the Bench headed by Chief Justice P. Sathasivam with two other judges being Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh.

The Bench referred to the Apex Court rejecting in March 2011 the mercy killing petition of nurse Aruna Shanbaug lying in a vegetable state for the past 39 years in Mumbai’s KEM Hospital since after becoming the victim of a savage rape. It noted that there were inconsistent opinions in that judgment.

“Considering the important question of law involved which needs to be reflected in the light of social, legal, medical and constitutional perspective, it becomes extremely important to have a clear enunciation of law” by the Constitution Bench, the judgment said.

The Common cause had prayed for declaring ‘right to die with dignity’ as a fundamental right within the fold of ‘right to live with dignity’ guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

The court noted that the Aruna Shanbaug ruling “aptly interpreted the decision of the Constitution Bench in Gian Kaur and came to the conclusion that euthanasia can be

allowed in India

only through a valid

legislation.”

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