‘Right to life cannot be given or taken’ says G.Subramaniam

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Correspondent at DNA India

“In India right to life cannot be given or taken away in absence of any such legislation being passed by the parliament and the ‘constitutional court’ should not decide whether a person should live or not,” said Dr. Gopal Subramaniam, former Solicitor General of India.

The ace lawyer was talking about the Aruna Shanbaug case in which a two judge bench of the Supreme Court allowed for the ‘passive euthanasia’ which allows for withdrawal of life support to patients in permanently vegetative state (PVS).

The bench had however rejected outright active euthanasia where in life is ended through administration of lethal substances.
Chairman of the Bar Council of India, Dr. Subramaniam was speaking while delivering a lecture at Nirma University.

He was talking on the topic “Indian Constitution: Recent Developments and Challenges Ahead”.

He called the constitution a living document.
“We have inherited a very robust constitution and their makers had foresight. Indian constitution has never been changed whereas the constitution of Soviat Union was changed four times during the communist rule,” he said.

Talking about cases in which the constitution needs to be interpreted, he said that the judges job is to interpret the constitution rather than reinvent it.”It should be interpreted, up-to date and contemporary,” he said.

On judicial activism that has been in news these day he said the court should represent its position when the executive and legislature are not functioning effectively.

“Public credibility is the foundation of the court and should never be betrayed,” he said.

In light of the recent developments, he touched on a number of landmark cases regarding freedom of speech and expression, institutional integrity, right to life etc.

He also gave an overview of the various constitutions across the world.

He also referred to a number of foreign cases to enlighten budding lawyers about the various contemporary developments in foreign constitutions.

During the interaction session, he advised the budding lawyers to put faith in truth rather than hearsay talks or gossip. Soli Sorabjee, former attorney general, was also present at the function.

He advised students to come to the profession with an aim to serve the society rather than earn money.He said those who wanted to earn money should be in real estate or import-export business.

Gopal Subramanium has offered to resign as Solicitor General.  he was not taken into confidence for appointment of Mr. Nariman. He found it unfair and offered to resign. The other side of the story is that Mr. Nariman was appointed by Mr. Kapil Sibal in his personal capacity.


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