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SC to government: Scrap NULM if you cannot implement it

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the central government for not monitoring implementation of the National Urban Livelihood Mission for poor, including shelter for homeless people by the state governments and asked it to scrap the scheme if it could not ensure implementation.

“It is your scheme. You have to fulfill it, otherwise you scrap it,” the social justice bench of Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Uday Umesh Lalit said as counsel for the central government sought to shift the blame for the scheme’s tardy implementation on state governments.

“We don’t know where the poor people of this country are heading for. There are concerns. Government of India is helpless,” observed Justice Lokur as court was told that in 2014-15, of the Rs 1,078 crore allocated under the NULM, only Rs 451 crore have been spent without any visible relief reaching the urban poor for whom the scheme had been formulated.

Taking exception to Uttar Pradesh spending Rs 25 crore on 60 proposals, Justice Lokur asked if the state government was spending about Rs 50 lakh on each proposal.

“Do states require lakhs of rupees for proposals only? What is happening to your money,” the bench asked the centre’s counsel reminding it that it was a centrally-funded scheme.

“By doing all this, you are doing nothing. Frittering away money, Rs 25 crore for 60 proposals. You can’t justify doing anything. Have you said anything for cutting costs to Uttar Pradesh? This won’t do. You are not doing anything,” the bench said to stock answers from counsel on its queries.

The bench was apparently displeased when counsel told it that this Rs 25 crore also included expenditure for infrastructure and locating land, underlining that Rs 25 crore was to be spent on the proposals.

“You must tell the state governments to first locate land for shelter home, only then we will give the money,” the bench said.

“Is government of India helpless as far as state governments are concerned? What is the achievement,” Justice Lokur observed taking exception to the central government counsel telling it that states are asked to give details of how money allocated to them was being spent or the financial assistance would be stopped in the next financial year.

The court was hearing a plea by lawyer R.R.Kumar and Indu Prakash Singh seeking the implementation of the scheme for shelter homes under the NULM.

Kumar urged the court to ask the central government about how many shelter homes have been set up in Andhra Pradesh which has spent Rs 56 crore.

He noted that of more than Rs 10 crore spent by Maharashtra under the NULM, only Rs 57,000 have been spent on setting up shelter homes.

The court, while asking Kumar and Singh to respond to the reply given by the central government, adjourned the hearing.

(With inputs from 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