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Corruption is self-infectious which gradually turns into economic terror: SC

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday said corruption is self-infectious, which has developed resistance to all sorts of curbs and controls and also become an economic terror as it upheld validity of the Orissa and Bihar Special Court Act providing for speedy trial of public servants accused of alleged graft and for confiscation of their properties earned illegally.

A bench of Justice Anil R. Dave and Justice Dipak Misra expressed their concern in their judgment.

Corruption, a ‘noun’ when assumes all the characteristics of a ‘verb’, becomes self-infective and also develops resistance to antibiotics,

In such a situation, the court said that the disguised protagonist never puts a Hamletian question – “to be or not to be” – “but marches ahead with perverted proclivity – sans concern, sans care for collective interest, and irrefragably without conscience”.

In a way, corruption becomes a national economic terror. This social calamity warrants a different control and hence, the legislature comes up with special legislation with stringent provisions,” Justice Misra said speaking for bench and upholding the validity of the Orissa and Bihar law in three separate appeals against the orders of Orissa High Court and Patna High Court.

Addressing the challenge to the law by the petitioners who were public servants and accused of allegedly possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, the court said that the “establishment of special courts under the Orissa Act as well as the Bihar Act is not violative of article 247 of the constitution.”

The court further said that the both the acts “providing for confiscation of property or money or both neither violate article 14 nor article 20(1) nor article 21 of the constitution” and the “procedure provided for confiscation and the proceedings before the authorised officer do not cause any discomfort either to article 14 or to article 20(3) of the constitution“.

Article 14 guarantees equality before law and article 20(3) say that no person accused of any offense shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

However, the court said that when the Bihar act provides to follow the warrant procedure prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure for a trial of cases before a magistrate, the 2010 Rules could not have prescribed for the summary procedure.

Holding that the rules have to be in accord with the act, the court said: “The rules can supplement the provisions of the act, but decidedly they cannot supplant the same. Therefore, we declare that part of rule 12 which lays down that the learned special judge shall follow summary procedure is ultra vires the Bihar act.(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