SC Verdict On Euthanasia
IN a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has legalised passive euthanasia and approved making of a ‘living will’. An application of this verdict to a few cases will bring clarity to the issue. In the case of KEM nurse Aruna Shanbaug who was brutally strangulated and raped and lay in a vegetative state for 42 years, the verdict would have made no difference. The judgement requires that she should have made a ‘living will’ while she was in sound mind. The will needed to be signed by two witnesses and also countersigned by a First Class Judicial Magistrate. As she had not made a living will and was not in a sound state of mind to make a will, the judgement would not apply even assuming that the judgement had come some years earlier. In the case of the very aged Lavate couple from Mumbai, who have no ailments but have petitioned the President for the right to active euthanasia and die with dignity, the judgement doesn’t apply even if they have made a living will because they are not terminally ill or on life support. The judgement doesn’t allow active euthanasia. Those on life support system with virtually no chance of survival can have the plug pulled after a reasonable period of time, by doctors or family members provided a living will was made by the patient. The judgement offers great relief to terminally ill cancer patients who suffer excruciating pain and death. In this case the patient can opt not to continue with life prolonging medicines. The present judgement will be more beneficial, if there is a directive to the government to set up several hospices to provide palliative medicines like morphine to alleviate the suffering of terminally ill patients.
ROBERT CASTELLINO, CALANGUTE
Pitch In To Save Goem
THIS is with reference to the article in ‘Panorama’ (March 11), by Prabhakar Sinari, ‘Goa needs to be on the alert’ about the highhanded doings and undoings by the “bad neighbour”– “Karnataka (that) is very aggressive in its approach over the diversion of Mhadei waters…” He laments that though Goans have been good and kind to Kannadiga migrants, “now crossing the 4 lakh mark…” by providing them all facilities, they are rude and unkind to Goans. Prabhakar Sinari may not be aware that in Mapusa, for example, of the total 25,659 voters, 10 to 12,000 are migrants; in Calangute, of 22,178 voters 8 to 9000 are migrants; in Cortalim, of 26,764 voters 12,000 are migrants; in Dabolim, of 19,810 voters, 10 to 12,000 are migrants. The list for Vasco, St Cruz, Mormugao, Ponda, Margao…runs on similar lines.Sinari, a valiant warrior of ‘Azad Gomantak Dal,’ and later a senior police officer, whom I admired (he knows, because, among other things, I wrote to him a Registered AD letter recently), now his comments in interviews and writings are a continuous litany of sob, sob and more sob, about the increasing deterioration and destruction of our Goem! Prabhakar Sinari who took up arms to fight the Portuguese, now recommends, that to save ourselves and our Goem from a waterless like situation, we must dig “artificial lakes and ponds in our villages”…”with the mining excavation machinery lying idle…” to collect the monsoon waters!! Where in, “Goa which is not even the size of a district of Karnataka” can hundreds and thousands of pounds or lakes be dug?
SERGIO CARVALHO, MAPUSA