Unable to decide on the question in face of the family’s opposition to a surgery and the lack of expert medical advice, the Supreme Court has directed the Bihar government to fund the twins’ treatment and pay Rs. 5,000 to the family every month.
Conjoined at the head, the 16-year-old twins are the daughters of Mohammad Shakeel Ahmad, a tea stall owner in Patna. The two had been bedridden for years. The petition was filed by Arushi Dhamsana, a student of Pune’s Symbiosis law school, a year ago after HT highlighted their plight.
On Wednesday, a bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra said, “We spent sleepless nights to find out a solution. We are sorry that nobody is concerned with the pain the twins are undergoing, not even their parents. What they want is financial help as well as palliative care,” the court said.
Back in 2005, a team of surgeons from the US had examined the girls and said they could be separated physically, but one of them might die in the process. The court has now asked the civil surgeon, Patna, to examine the twins regularly and send updates to AIIMS so the institute may give a suggestion regarding their treatment.
“We feel good about the judgment, but it would have been better if they gave each of us R5,000,” Saba said from her home in Patna. “But something is better than nothing,” quipped Farah.
“We are satisfied with the promise of regular medical treatment,” said their father. “We do not want the girls to be separated surgically. We do not want to lose either of them.”