SC allows Passive Euthanasia with guidelines

10 March, 2018, 01:44 | Author: Edward Snyder
  • Euthanasia

The order was passed by a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra.

The Supreme Court said everyone has a right to "die with dignity".

India's Supreme Court Friday legalised passive euthanasia in a landmark judgment that places the power of choice to live in the hands of an individual.

As per definition, it's a direction issued by a terminally ill patient that "he or she... shall or shall not be given medical treatment in future when or he she becomes terminally ill".

After the hearing, the judges had four different opinions, but agreed upon the fact that "living will" should be allowed.

The euthanasia fire has been raging in India since 2014 when then Indian Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, who is also a medical doctor, called for a debate on the issue. It includes authorizing his/her family to withdraw life support system in case a medical board declared that they were beyond medical help.




A living will - also known as an advance directive - is a legal document that specifies the type of medical care that an individual does or does not want in the event that he is unable to communicate his wishes. March 9, 2018: The apex court recognises "living will' made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia on the basis of guidelines laid down by the court".

Petitioners, who had argued that people have the right to die with dignity if they are suffering from a terminal illness, hailed the judgment. The Anamika Mishra, a euthanasia seeker, who is suffering from Muscular Dystrophy Disease welcomed the court's verdict.

Earlier this year, an elderly couple from Mumbai had written a letter to President Ram Nath Kovind seeking permission for "active euthanasia", involves helping a person die on his or her request "through direct action".

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court today recognised that a terminally-ill patient can write a "living will" that permits doctors to withdraw life support, saying a person with no will to live shouldn't suffer in a comatose state.

"Allowing passive euthanasia in developed countries is probably feasible, but welcoming even passive euthanasia in countries like India is very hard", Biswas, a humanities professor at GD Goenka University in New Delhi, said. Whereas in passive euthanasia, either the medical professionals don't do something necessary to keep the patient alive or they stop making efforts that keep the patient alive.

On January, 15, 2016, the government had said the 241st report of the Law Commission stated that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards.

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