Bench issues notice to State government and Attorney-General

The Supreme Court on Monday asked the Union government to set up a team of doctors to examine 16-year-old Siamese twins joined at the head and extend medical aid to see whether the girls could be separated.

The team might consist of doctors from the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences and Apollo Hospitals’ Benjamin Carson, a conjoined twins specialist who has already examined the girls, a Bench of Justices K.S. Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra said, passing the order on a public interest litigation petition filed by a Pune law student. Taking note of Dr. Carson’s assessment that separating Saba and Farah Shakeel, who share a vital blood vessel in the brain, would involve a series of operations spanning over nine months, and that the procedure might be life-threatening to at least one of them, the Bench said it wanted both girls to survive.

The Bench issued notice to the Bihar government, where the girls’ parents are living, and to Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati for taking appropriate steps.

It said the acute agony of the girls would shock anybody’s conscience, and it wanted to facilitate all help possible under medical science.