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Nithari killings: SC issues notice to Koli

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to Nithari killings’ convict Surender Koli on an Uttar Pradesh government plea seeking restoration of death sentence in Rimpa Haldar case – one of the 14 cases of rape and killings in the village in Noida bordering Delhi.

A bench of Chief Justice H.L. Dattu, Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Amitava Roy issued notice to Koli and others on the state government plea challenging an Allahabad High Court verdict commuting his death sentence to life imprisonment in Rimpa Haldar case on the grounds of delay in deciding his mercy petition by the president.

The Uttar Pradesh government contended that the offenses committed by Koli were heinous in the extreme.

A bench of Chief Justice Dattu, Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice S.A. Bobde, had on October 28, while rejecting Koli’s plea seeking recall of the apex court verdict upholding his death sentence in Rimpa Haldar case, said that “we are fully satisfied that this court has not committed any error that may persuade us to review the order” upholding his death sentence.

Incidentally this was the first case of the open court hearing by a bench of three judges of review petition seeking revisiting of the verdict upholding the death sentence.

A view of the Indian Supreme Court building is seen in New DelhiThe apex court had on July 24 last year rejected Koli’s plea seeking the recall of its February 15, 2011 order upholding his death sentence in one of the 14 cases of rape and killing being faced by him.

However, the court again heard his plea following a September 2 constitution bench decision allowing an open court hearing of the review petition by a bench of three judges.

The constitution bench had said: “It (the decision of open court hearing of review petitions) will also apply where a review petition is already dismissed but the death sentence is not executed so far. In such cases, the petitioners can apply for the reopening of their review petition within one month from the date of this judgment.”

The execution of Koli’s death sentence that was to take place on September 8, 2014, was stayed hours before in a post mid-night hearing. Subsequently it was further stayed till October 29 by the court on September 12 as it decided to hold the open court hearing on October 28.

The bench of (then) Justice Dattu and Justice Dave on July 24 had rejected the review plea holding that it was moved long after his death sentence was upheld by the apex court.

President Pranab Mukherjee in July 2014 had also rejected Koli’s mercy plea.

The Nithari killings came to light after the horrific discovery in December 2009 of body parts in a drain behind businessman M.S. Pandher’s bungalow and found to be of the 19 young women and children from Nithari village allegedly raped and killed by Koli, who served Pandher, in the bungalow. (IANS)

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SC Allows ‘Living Will’ Of Terminally Ill Persons

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Supreme Court of India
  • SC allows living will for the terminally ill patients
  • SC says the person has ‘right to die with dignity’
  • In a living will, a  person can choose not to prolong his or her life using artificial means

The Supreme Court on Friday said a person has the “right to die with dignity” and can make an advance “living will” authorising the withdrawal of life support system if in medical view he has reached an irreversible stage of terminal illness.

While allowing a person to make the advance directive or living will, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, however, attached strict conditions for executing the “will” made by a person in his normal state of health and mind.

Supreme court give terminally ill patients the 'living will''
Supreme court give terminally ill patients the ‘living will”

In the living will, a person can state in advance that his or her life should not be prolonged with a ventilator or artificial support system. The bench, also including judges A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

Recognising the “right to die with dignity”, the court permitted a person to draft in advance a living will in case she/he slips into an incurable condition. “To deprive an individual of dignity at the end of life is to deprive him of meaningful existence,” said Justice Chandrachud while allowing the living will for passive euthanasia.

Also Read: Ethical Dispute Erupts Over Euthanasia Rules

The court said the life support can be removed only after the statutory medical board declares the patient to be incurable. The bench said its guidelines and directives should remain in force till a legislation was brought to deal with the issue.

“Life and death are inseparable. Bodies involve continuous change but mind remains constant… Death represents culmination of life… Freedom, liberty are core of meaningful life,” Justice Chandrachud said. The court pronounced four separate but concurring judgements.

The person will have right to not prolong his or her by using artificial means. Wikimedia Commons
The person will have right to not prolong his or her by using artificial means. Wikimedia Commons

The court’s verdict came on a plea filed in 2005 by an NGO Common Cause seeking the right to make a living will authorising the withdrawal of life support system in the event of the will-makers reaching an irreversible vegetative state.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had said that since a patient under coma cannot express his/her wish, law should allow him/her to put it down in writing in advance that he/she should not be tortured. In the absence of a law authorising doctors to do so, they keep incurable patients on life support, he said. IANS