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SC pushes for medical separation of conjoined sisters


New Delhi : The Supreme Court Monday directed the union health ministry to set up a panel of doctors to examine the possibility of surgically separating 16-year-old conjoined sisters from Bihar.

The apex court bench of Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Dipak Misra directed the panel of doctors, including those from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, to give opinion on the scope of surgery for separating conjoined twins Saba and Farah.

The court’s direction came on a public interest litigation by Aarushi Dhasmana, a law student from Pune-based Symbiosis Law School.

While issuing notice to the ministry and the Bihar government, the court asked Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati to assist the court in the matter.

A report by doctors said that both Saba and Farah will have to undergo a series of surgeries before the two could be separated. It warned that only one of the two conjoined sisters would survive.

The court said a newspaper report on conjoined sisters would “shock anyone’s conscience. What can medical science do in this situation. We want to save both the twins, medical experts can take appropriate decision”.

Dhasmana in her petition said that she came to know about the pain and agony of two conjoined twins while she was surfing through internet.

She said the twins’ hapless parents had made “fervent appeals” for the “mercy killing of their daughters if all options to separate them failed”.

The petitioner prayed for the setting up of a “high-level committee of medical experts for the purpose of examining the possibility of separating the twins…”

The petition said that in case the expert committee came to a conclusion that surgical procedures could be performed, then it should be done by a panel of doctors at the expense of the state.

The court will next hear the case Friday.