Delhi HC denies parents’ euthanasia request for man bed-ridden for over a decade

The 30-year-old man’s parents had filed the plea, seeking the court’s intervention to establish a medical board to evaluate their son’s condition and consider euthanasia.
Delhi High Court
Delhi High Court (File Photo | PTI)

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has denied a petition to form a medical board to assess the possibility of euthanising Harish Rana, a 30-year-old man in a permanent vegetative state for over a decade.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, in his ruling rejecting the plea, emphasized that Rana, who sustained severe head injuries from a fall in 2013, is not reliant on mechanical life support and sustains himself without external aid.

“The facts indicate that the petitioner is not being kept alive mechanically and he is able to sustain himself without any extra external aid. The petitioner is thus living and no one, including a physician, is permitted to cause death of another person by administering any lethal drug, even if the objective is to relieve the patient from pain and suffering,” Justice Prasad said in his order.

Rana’s parents had filed the plea, seeking the court’s intervention to establish a medical board to evaluate their son’s condition and consider euthanasia. They highlighted Rana’s prolonged immobility and the severe bedsores he has developed, causing further infections, as reason for the plea. Despite the family’s desperate situation and the challenges in caring for Rana as his parents age, the court upheld the legal stance that active euthanasia remains impermissible.

Justice Prasad cited the Supreme Court’s decision in Common Cause v Union of India, which prohibits mercy killing through the administration of external drug. Justice Prasad further said that the petitioner is not on any life support system and the petitioner is surviving without any external aid.

“While the court sympathises with the parents, as the petitioner is not terminally ill, this court cannot intervene and allow consideration of a prayer that is legally untenable,” said Justice Prasad.

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