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Law students debate merits of legalising mercy killing

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, January 31, 2011
First Published: 02:04 IST(31/1/2011) | Last Updated: 02:08 IST(31/1/2011)

The fate of Aruna Shanbaug, who has been lying in a vegetative state at KEM Hospital for the last 38 years, was passionately debated by students on Sunday at Vidhi Vikram, the inter-college law festival organised by GJ Advani Law College, Bandra.


“The right to life guaranteed by the Indian constitution should include the right to die with dignity,” argued Murtaza Kutianawala, a second year student of GJ Advani Law College speaking in support of the debate topic, Should mercy killing/euthanasia be legalized?

He referred to Shanbaug, a nurse who suffered complete paralysis after a ward boy sodomised and assaulted her in 1973, and has now filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking to die.

“Technological advances can keep a person alive artificially but we have no right to prolong a person’s pain and suffering,” he said adding that countries such as Netherland had legalised euthanasia and laid down procedures to prevent its misuse.

Drawing from personal experience, Kutianawala’s teammate, Rajesh Mankani, who lost his mother to cancer earlier this month, said that in cases of terminally ill patients, quality of life should weigh over quantity of life.

Kutianawala and Mankani won the debate while the team from DY Patil Law College was declared the runner up.

About 31 law colleges participated in the three-day festival. Bombay high court judge, Justice PB Majmudar, and former judge Hosbet Suresh, awarded the first prize in the moot court competition on environment law to Government Law College while the runners up was the team from Jitendra Chauhan Law College.

The team from DY Patil Law College won the law quiz while the GJ Advani Law College team came second.

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