Video screening at the hearing of Aruna Shanbaug;s case in the Supreme Court in March 2011
My sister Justice Gyansudha Mishra and I, who heard Aruna Shanbaug's case in the Supreme Court, had by an order appointed a team of 3 Bombay doctors to inspect and examine Aruna's condition in the K.E.M. Hospital in Mumbai. These were (1) Dr.J.V.Divatia, Professor and Head of Department of Anasthesia, Critical Care and Pain, Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai (2) Dr. Roop Gurshani, Consulting Neurologist, P.D.Hinduja Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, and (3) Dr Nilesh Shah, Prof. and Head of Department of Psychiatry, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Corporation Medical College and General Hospital, Mumbai.
These doctors did an excellent job. They inspected Aruna several times and submitted a detailed report to us ( quoted in our judgment which can be seen online ). Along with their report they also submitted a CD containing video recording of Aruna.
I had seen the video screening of Nazi atrocities shown at the Nuremberg Trials after the Second World War. That gave me the idea of video screening in the Courtroom the CD submitted by the team of doctors to us with their report. I discussed this idea with Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra, and she agreed that the film be shown, so that we, the lawyers, and those inside the Courtroom could see the actual condition of Aruna.
As soon as we stepped inside Court No. 6 in the Supreme Court at 10.30 a.m., the lights were dimmed, and the film was shown. It clearly showed that though Aruna was in a vegetative condition, she could certainly not be said to be dead, as she made some sounds, and blinked. her eyes. She did not need a ventilator or heart lung machine, and could eat food which was fed to her by a spoon.
The 3 doctors who had examined Aruna were also present in the Courtroom, as we had requested their presence, and had directed the Government of India to pay for their air tickets, and arrange for their transport and accomodation.
After the film, which was of about 15 minutes, was over, the hearing of the case began.
We had requested Mr. T.R. Andhyarujina, former Solicitor General of india and former Advocate General of Bombay, to be the amicus curiae in the case, as we were in uncharted seas, and he was of great assistance to us.