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India government says no to mercy killing plea

CWN - March 03, 2011

The Indian government has categorically rejected a federal commission's recommendation that terminally ill patients should be allowed to choose death in order to end their suffering.

The government took its stand during a March 3 hearing on a euthanasia plea before the federal supreme court. Opposing the plea that has been entered on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, who has been in an unresponsive state for 37 years, the nation’s attorney general, G. E. Vahanvati, said that Western ideas about “mercy killing” cannot be applied to Indian culture.

"We do not lead our terminally ill parents or kids to death. Who decides if one should live or die? Who knows: tomorrow there might be a cure to a medical state perceived as incurable today. And won't leading the terminally ill impede pro-life medical research?" argued the chief legal officer of the federal government.

The lawyer for the KEM hospital, where Shanbaug has lived in a comatose condition fro 37 years, also opposed the euthanasia plea.

The Supreme Court has withheld its decision on the case; it will be announced at some future date.

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