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India - Supreme Court - Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug vs Union Of India & Ors: interruzione dei trattamenti di sostegno vitale
7 marzo 2011

Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug si trova da 36 anni in stato vegetativo persistente. Con un ricorso presentato in suo nome da una giornalista sua amica viene richiesto di interrompere nutrizione e idratazione artificiale e di permettere ad Aruna di terminare in pace la propria esistenza.

La Corte Suprema indiana ha dichiarato che l'interruzione di life sustaining treatments è legittima, se approvata dalla High Court, su richiesta avanzata dagli stretti familiari della persona e con il parere favorevole di tre medici.

NO. 115 OF 2009

 Nel caso di specie, la Corte Suprema, rigettando il ricorso, ritiene quindi di non potersi pronunciare sulla richiesta di interruzione dei trattamenti, per la quale è competente la High Court. Inoltre, secondo i giudici, la ricorrente Pinki Virani non è legata sufficientemente alla paziente quanto lo staff medico-sanitario dell'ospedale.

Si riportano alcuni passi della sentenza (.pdf completo nel box dowload).

«126. There is no statutory provision in our country as to the legal procedure for withdrawing life support to a person in PVS or who is otherwise incompetent to take a decision in this connection. We agree with Mr. Andhyarujina that passive euthanasia should be permitted in our country in certain situations, and we disagree with the learned Attorney General that it should never be permitted. Hence, following the technique used in Vishakha’s case (supra), we are laying down the law in this connection which will continue to be the law until Parliament makes a law on the subject.

(i) A decision has to be taken to discontinue life support either by the parents or the spouse or other close relatives, or in the absence of any of them, such a decision can be taken even by a person or a body of persons acting as a next friend. It can also be taken by the doctors attending the patient. However, the decision should be taken bona fide in the best interest of the patient.

In the present case, we have already noted that Aruna Shanbaug’s parents are dead and other close relatives are not interested in her ever since she had the unfortunate assault on her. As already noted above, it is the KEM hospital staff, who have been amazingly caring for her day and night for so many long years, who really are her next friends, and not Ms. Pinky Virani who has only visited her on few occasions and written a book on her. Hence it is for the KEM hospital staff to take that decision. The KEM hospital staff have clearly expressed their wish that Aruna Shanbaug should be allowed to live».

 «132. In our opinion, in the case of an incompetent person who is unable to take a decision whether to withdraw life support or not, it is the Court alone, as parens patriae, which ultimately must take this decision, though, no doubt, the views of the near relatives, next friend and doctors must be given due weight.

133. In our opinion, it is the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution which can grant approval for withdrawal of life support to such an incompetent person. Article 226(1) of the Constitution states :

Notwithstanding anything in article 32, every High Court shall have power, throughout the territories in relation to which it exercises jurisdiction, to issue to any person or authority, including in appropriate cases, any Government, within those territories directions, orders or writs, including writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, or any of them, for the enforcement of any of the rights conferred by Part III and for any other purpose”».

Pubblicato il: Lunedì, 07 Marzo 2011 - Ultima modifica: Giovedì, 30 Maggio 2019
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