Plea for mercy killing rejected

HC judge advises psychiatric counselling for the petitioner

The High Court of Karnataka on Wednesday rejected a petition seeking permission for mercy killing, filed by H B Karibasamma, a retired teacher from Davangere.

“The petitioner is suffering from a terminal disease. She is living in an old age home and stuck with emotional problems.

She has come to a decision to seek euthanasia due to personal problems. She needs psychiatric counselling than euthanasia,” Justice Ajit Gunjal said while disposing of the petition. This was the first case filed in the High Court, seeking permission for mercy killing.

Karibasamma has been suffering from slip disc and diabetes for the past 11 years. She had submitted that she had consulted several doctors, who resorted to non-surgical, conservative methods of treatment, owing to her age.

As there was no improvement in her condition with any of the treatment, she sought the permission to end her life.

Karibasamma had been giving representations to various authorities, seeking permission to end her life from 2003. She wrote to the prime minister’s office this year.

In August this year, following  directions from the High Court, the Karnataka government in its report on her health, had stated that she suffered from a neurological disease which can be treated at the neurosurgery wing of National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences (Nimhans).

Another petition

Taking cue from Karibasamma, in August this year, S V Srinivasa Rao, a resident of Bangalore, had also applied for euthanasia in the High Court. However, Justice Shylendra Kumar had rejected the plea.

Rao, claiming to be the kin of Krishna Rao, the erstwhile Diwan of Mysore, has sought permission to end his life after a bank attached his property as  he had borrowed Rs 87 lakh in 1994 and failed to repay.

According to him, his property along with Rs four crore in cash and jewellery worth Rs three crore were taken away by the bank, pushing his five-member family to poverty.

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