Descendant of freedom fighter alleges harassment for exposing corruption in Gujarat transport department and seeks High Court clearance for ‘active euthanasia’

In a written petition filed in the High Court of Gujarat under Section 226 of the Constitution, a man claiming to be a descendant of freedom fighter Namdev Nathu Mahajan sought permission to commit Iccha Mrytyu, that is- i.e. active euthanasia. The 56-year-old petitioner says he was working as a driver at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation when he received information and…

In a written petition filed in the High Court of Gujarat under Section 226 of the Constitution, a man claiming to be a descendant of freedom fighter Namdev Nathu Mahajan sought permission to commit Iccha Mrytyu that is, active euthanasia.

The 56-year-old petitioner says he was working as a driver with the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation when he received information and documents regarding corruption in the department. This corruption was allegedly carried out with the support of high-level officers in the department.

The petitioner claims that he tried to bring this to light, but he was harassed by agents of the department and subsequently, on the basis of false accusations, was removed from his post. The petitioner claims that he even approached the concerned authority of the Central Investigation Committee regarding the corruption scandal, but to no avail. Thereafter he started an andolan in Jantar Mantar and held meetings with many politicians from various parties but to no avail.

Due to the immense mental agony endured by the petitioner, he is now asking permission to end his life and thus end the harassment and troubles he is enduring.

Tracing the evolution of debates and discussions around the controversial issue of euthanasia around the world, the petitioner drew a distinction between “active” and “passive” euthanasia and also referred to the cessation of the Supreme Court on passive euthanasia. The applicant stated:

The Supreme Court noted in the judgment that the Constitution of India values ​​freedom, dignity, autonomy and privacy. The current petitioner says and humbly submits that an alternative approach to the issue is seen in the palliative care movement which promotes palliative care for the dying and terminally ill.

A reference to euthanasia was also made in the Indian context where the petitioner disputed that Swami Vivekanand, Goddess Sita, Vinoba Bhave opted for active euthanasia by refusing food and medicine. Thus, the practice of euthanasia was firmly rooted in Indian culture and the petitioner sought the same in the interests of justice.

He maintains that he is tired of the daily quarrel with his family and has no one to take care of him. He further assured that he would donate all his bodily organs to someone in need or for medical research. It was also said that he made representations to Governor of Gujarat, President of India, Chief Minister of Gujarat as well as Prime Minister of India but received no answer.

Seeing that no other recourse was available, he filed the motion in writ as a last resort and requested permission to Iccha Mrityu end his life happily and voluntarily according to his desire.

Read also : Freedom to die: a look at the position of active euthanasia in the Indian legal system

Case title: Jawaharlal Bansilal Mahajan c. Union of India & Ors.

Thelma J. Longworth