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An estimated 1-minute read

70-year-old woman asks for right to die from Bangalore HC; Does she have a case in law?

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Justice Ajit Gunjal issued notices to the ministry of parliamentary affairs, ministry of law and justice and Karnataka's chief secretary according to newspaper DNA, adding that it was the first such case in the Karnataka High Court.

DNA wrote today:

"Karibasamma is suffering from intervertebral disc prolapse, commonly known as slip disc. The ailment affects the spine, tearing its outer fibrous ring and swelling the soft central portion. The tears in the disc ring may result in inflammatory chemical mediators which cause severe pain. Karibasamma, who is also diabetic, is suffering from the ailment for the past 10- 11 years.

"The retired school teacher languishes in an old age home in Davangere with a monthly pension of Rs8,968, which barely covers her medical expenses. With nobody to take care of her, she suffers from mental as well as physical agony. As attempts to eliminate her pain failed, Karibasamma is unwilling to live a harrowing life of pain and misery.

"She had been giving representations to various authorities seeking permission to end her life from 2003. This includes one sent to the prime minister’s office this year.

"'I do not have any children. I am the second wife of my husband. I am tired of my life. I am suffering from intense pain. I do not want to trouble my relatives anymore. I stay in the old age home for treatment since there is no treatment at our village. I am fighting this case as an underprivileged person,' said Karibasamma.

"She further contended that she does not want to commit suicide but wants to the government’s permission to end her life through euthanasia or a physician-assisted death. Karibasamma does not want her case to be labelled a cowardly act of suicide but as an honourable end to a person who valiantly fought life."

Euthanasia or mercy killing is currently illegal in India but in early 2008 the Law Commission recommended to allow the government to carry out euthanasia for the terminally ill or for the relief of long suffering.

Later in 2008 the Kerala Law Commission recommended legalising mercy killings in the state.
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