Published: Sun, March 11, 2018
Global | By Enrique Rogers

SC Legalizes Passive Euthanasia: Right to Die With Dignity

SC Legalizes Passive Euthanasia: Right to Die With Dignity

Indian courts have rejected appeals to allow active euthanasia, or acts that aid in a person killing him or herself. "Neither the law nor the Constitution compels an individual who is competent and able to take decisions, to disclose the reasons for refusing medical treatment nor is such a refusal subject to the supervisory control of an outside entity", Justice Chandrachud said. The Supreme Court with a strict guideline to govern has permitted the passive euthanasia.

The Apex Court has laid down clear guidelines for advance direction for passive euthanasia, so that it is not misused in any manner.

Even though passive euthanasia has been legal since 2011 in India, the government is yet to pass the law. "The living will is just an instrument that gives the patient autonomy over his life or death". The doctors treating such a patient will withdraw medical support provided the patient has left behind a "living will" for pulling the "plug" in such situations.

Finally the Supreme Court took the initiative of hearing the matter on January 23rd 2014 by a three-judge bench led by then CJI P Sathasivam and the Delhi Medical Council supporting the task it was assigned tofileda copy of the proceedings of International Workshop for Policy Statement on Euthanasia in India, to which the Court reversed its previous verdict. However, the verdict has put a rider on the "living will" for being permitted with legally valid permission from the family members of the person seeking passive euthanasia and decision by a team of expert doctors that the said person as a patient could not be revived. The court said, however, the living will needs to be drawn up when the person is of sound mind.

Passive euthanasia is a condition where there is a withdrawal of the medical treatment to expedite death of a terminally ill patient. "The said directive, we think, will dispel many a doubt at the relevant time of need during the course of treatment of the patient".

Delhi High Court grants Karti protection from arrest
Singhvi also alleged that the CBI purposefully did not filed reply to the bail petition so that he could be kept in custody. The CBI argued that it needed further custody of Karti as he was non-cooperative and had not answered all questions.

In India, passive euthanasia was termed legal under exceptional circumstances. Unlike relatives or friends making a choice for a person who has slipped into coma, a living will carries the moral force of a patient's own choice to not prolong life.

Aruna Shanbaug remained in vegetative state for 37 years after being strangled and sodomised by a sweeper.

"In the Aruna Shanbaug case, passive euthanasia was allowed in rarest-of-rare cases but no recognition was given to living will", Rohan added.

The constitution bench of Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, Justice A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan which had studied a PIL filed by NGO "Common cause" in 2005, delivered their thoughts on an important case that aims to curb the agony of a dying individual with absolutely no chance of survival. With all due respect, the Supreme Court can not just make a judgment regarding euthanasia.

A recent study in the "Lancet Commission on Global Access to Palliative Care and Pain Relief" had said that more than 25.5 million people worldwide die every year with serious physical and psychological suffering as a result of disease, injury or illness.

Like this: