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SC files notice to Gujarat govt on Hardik Patel plea against sedition charge

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Gujarat government on the plea by Hardik Patel, who is leading an agitation seeking reservation for Patidar community, challenging the state high court order refusing to quash sedition charge invoked against him and other stir leaders for allegedly attacking places including police stations.

Issuing notice to Gujarat government, a bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman directed the hearing of the matter on January 5 when the court is going to take up another similar plea by the Patel quota agitation leader.

Appearing for Hardik Patel, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said that his client could not be charged under sedition as there was no conspiracy to wage a war against the government. At best the case against Hardik Patel could be that of using “intemperate language” and the same could be tried under the different penal provision.

Contending that mere words were not enough to attract the charge of sedition unless there was some act to match them, Sibal said that there was “nothing to show” that he was challenging the state, and the whole movement was for seeking reservation for Patidar community.

Opposing the plea by the Patel leader, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that one could not contend that there was no criminality when the judiciary, police, police stations and politicians were being targeted in the state.

Scores of police stations across the state were torched. One district judge was attacked. The house of home minister was attacked. We have come to know about all this by tapping the phones…,

The Gujarat High Court had on December 1 dropped the treason charge against Hardik Patel but refused to quash the sedition charge.

The state police, in October, lodged the second case against Patidar leader and his five aides. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: india.com)

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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