Published: Sat, March 10, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

SC allows passive euthanasia by recognising 'living will' of terminally ill patients

SC allows passive euthanasia by recognising 'living will' of terminally ill patients

In this, a petition seeking recognition of living will get permission under which a person diagnosed with any disease, who have no change to get recover can refuse the artificial support system and can have used its right to die with dignity. Thus accordingly, a person has an option to give it in writing that in case he/she is in incurable coma stage or a vegetative state, they should be allowed to end their lives, if they wish to.

July 15: A five-judge bench commences hearing on the plea, issues notices to all states and UTs, and appoints senior advocate T R Andhyarujina as an amicus curiae.

A typical LW takes effect when the person is terminally ill without chance of recovery and outlines the desire to withhold heroic measures.

It is welcome that a Constitution bench of the Supreme Court has endorsed, through four separate but concurring judgments, the idea of passive euthanasia, subject to stringent conditions against misuse.

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On 25 February 2014, a three judge bench had referred the plea for voluntary passive euthanasia to the constitution bench. India's law commission in its 241st Report titled "Passive Euthanasia- A Relook" had proposed that a legislation be enacted on "Passive Euthanasia".

The Supreme Court has also approved the right to refuse medical treatment and the concept of a "living will".

In its ruling today, the apex court said that patients with no will to live shouldn't suffer in a comatose state.

It was also seen to have adopted a misconstrued construction of the decision of the 1998 Gian Kaur case where a constitutional bench had held that the right to life did not include the right to die.

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"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.

"At that time the Supreme Court said they will look at this whole passive euthanasia thing again, which they have, and they have upheld their own judgement", said activist and author Pinki Virani.

The couple is dismayed at not being eligible for it as they do not suffer from ant terminal illness. The board will then decide if passive euthania can be given to the patient.

Before proceeding with the decision, the medical practitioner will be required to inform persons including the spouse, or parent, etc of the need (or otherwise) for withdrawing treatment. This decision was made as part of the verdict in a case involving Aruna Shanbaug, who had been in a Persistent Vegetative State (PVS) until her death in 2015. It has also given sanction to 'Passive Euthanasia' and 'Living Will' and thereby issued guidelines in this regard.

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