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Right To Life Include Right To Die In Company Of Family Members? SC Asks Madras HC To Decide Terminally Ill Ukrainian National’s Appeal [Read Petition]

Apoorva Mandhani
13 Nov 2017 1:26 PM GMT
Right To Life Include Right To Die In Company Of Family Members? SC Asks Madras HC To Decide Terminally Ill Ukrainian National’s Appeal [Read Petition]
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The Supreme Court, on Monday, directed the Madras High Court to pronounce its judgment as expeditiously as possible in the Appeal filed by a Ukrainian national, Mr. Dudnyk Valentyn, who has been convicted under the Arms Act.The Court noted that Mr. Valentyn was diagnosed with prostate cancer and multiple skeletal, nodal and liver metastases. His plea for shifting him to a private hospital will...

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The Supreme Court, on Monday, directed the Madras High Court to pronounce its judgment as expeditiously as possible in the Appeal filed by a Ukrainian national, Mr. Dudnyk Valentyn, who has been convicted under the Arms Act.

The Court noted that Mr. Valentyn was diagnosed with prostate cancer and multiple skeletal, nodal and liver metastases. His plea for shifting him to a private hospital will be heard on Friday.

Mr. Valentyn, along with 22 foreigners, was convicted in January last year by a Trial Court in Tuticorin in south Tamil Nadu. The 23 convicts were onboard a detained U.S. anti-piracy vessel ‘MV Seaman Guard Ohio’ and were convicted under provisions of the Arms Act. They were sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a period of five years for illegally entering Indian waters with a huge cache of arms and ammunition in October, 2013. Mr. Valentyn had then appealed to the High Court.

Advocate Raghenth Basant pointed out that the High Court had reserved its judgment in November last year and has not pronounced it even after a period of 11 months. He has, hence, petitioned the Apex Court, demanding an expansive interpretation of the right to life as enshrined under Article 21 of the Constitution of India, to include the right to die with dignity in the company of family members. He has further questioned whether his right to life would include the right to be repatriated to his country of origin to spend his last few days.

Besides, Mr. Valentyn has submitted that since the ship bore another country's flag, it should have been subject to the laws of that State. He has also placed reliance on Article 27 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to contend that the provisions of the Arms Act should now have been made applicable to the vessel. The Article states that the criminal jurisdiction of a coastal state would not extend to a foreign ship passing through the territorial sea.

Moreover, the Prosecution, he submits, has failed to establish that those on the ship were acting in a manner prejudicial to the peace, good order or security of India so as to deny them a right to innocent passage under Section 4(1) of the Territorial Waters, Continental Shelf, Exclusive Economic Zone and Other Maritime Zone Act, 1976.

The Petition filed by Mr. Valentyn also makes reference to the Model Prisoners Manual, 2003 published by the Bureau of Police Research and Development, Ministry of Home Affairs. This Manual recommends that a terminally ill convicted prisoner should be considered for release to allow such persons the comfort of dying at home.

The Petition, therefore, demands that Mr. Valentyn be released on bail during the pendency of the Appeal and be repatriated to Ukraine. Alternatively, it also demands that he be treated in a private hospital of his choice and his wife be allowed to take care of him.

Read the Petition Here

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