Moved by the plight of 16-year-old conjoined twins unable to receive medical treatment owing to lack of funds, the Supreme Court on Monday directed the Centre and Bihar government to constitute a medical board to treat the girls.
A bench of Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra acted on a PIL filed by a law student from Pune, who based her petition on the Hindustan Times report published on May 14.
Aarushi Dhasmana has submitted before the court that for the last four months, the twins — Saba and Farah — from Bihar have been bedridden and are experiencing acute agony. She asked the court to consider permitting their parents to put them to rest through mercy killing.
Dhasmana has, however, prayed that the decision to include right to death under Article 21 should be extended with all safeguards, including consent of the President.
The bench appreciated Dhasmana's efforts in moving the court and observed that the “acute agony of the girls would shock anybody's conscience.” It directed the government to include experts from AIIMS and leading American specialist on conjoined twins, Dr Benjamin Carson, as members of the medical board.
On an examination of the twins five years ago, Dr Carson had opined that it would require five or six operations over a period of nine months to separate them. Carson had found that they shared a vital blood vessel in the brain, and that Farah had two kidneys, while Saba had none, it added.
Despite an offer by Abu Dhabi's crown prince to fund the operation, the family had decided against it.
As time went by, the pain suffered by the twins catapulted to such heights that while initially the girls were unable to walk, now they cannot sleep and remain awake for 15 hours.