Referred to Larger Bench IV: Katju’s Eccentricity

In Common Cause v. UOI, (2014) 5 SCC 338 it was held, “A vivid reading of Para 104 of Aruna Shanbaug, (2011) 4 SCC 454 demonstrates that the reasoning in Para 104 is directly inconsistent with its own observation in Para 101. In Paras 21 & 101, the Bench was of the view that in Gian Kaur, the Constitution Bench held that euthanasia could be made lawful only by a legislation. Whereas in Para 104, the Bench contradicts its own interpretation of Gian Kaur and states that although this Court approved the view taken in Airedale, it has not clarified who can decide whether life support should be discontinued in the case of an incompetent person e.g., a person in coma or PVS. When, at the outset, it is interpreted to hold that euthanasia could be made lawful only by legislation where is the question of deciding whether the life support should be discontinued in the case of an incompetent person e.g., a person in coma or PVS. In view of the inconsistent opinions rendered in Aruna Shanbaug and also considering the important question of law involved which needs to be reflected in the light of social, legal, medical and constitutional perspective, it becomes extremely important to have a clear enunciation of law. Thus, in our cogent opinion, the question of law involved requires careful consideration by a Constitution Bench of this Court for the benefit of humanity as a whole.”

Do Read Aruna Shanbaug. Everyone deserves to enjoy the delight and whimsy of Hon’ble Justice Katju. It is a rare judgment where Judicial Clerks have been acknowledged. One of them, Mr. Manav Kapur, I have had the good fortune to meet. I am pleased to share a photograph.

Manav Kapur

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