Indian top court allows passive euthanasia, 'living will'

10 March, 2018, 02:05 | Author: Mable Gonzales
  • Supreme Court Legalises Passive Euthanasia in India Says Patients Can Decide When to End Life Support

In a landmark judgement, the Supreme Court of India ruled that it will allow passive euthanasia, and the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right. The apex court, while stating its order, noted that a person must be given the "right to die with dignity".

The five-member bench, comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, began hearing the petition a year ago. Its guidelines and directives shall remain in force till a legislation is brought to deal with the issue, says the apex court. Meantime, a non-government organization approached the top court with a plea to also legalize the right to a living will. Passive euthanasia entails a withdrawal of medical treatment to deliberately hasten the death of a terminally-ill patient.

Earlier in October past year, the apex court reserved its verdict on "living will" in cases of passive euthanasia.

The Supreme Court of Indian has passed an order allowing passive euthanasia in the country.

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The decision makes it legal for the terminally ill to decide against using life support systems to continue living, and frees the doctors and families of those who slip into incurable comas to halt such measures, in the patients' best interest.

People on social media have come in huge support of the decision, stating that its encouraging for people who have to suffer pain, and don't want to live any longer because prolonged illness that incurable or if they're in an irreversible coma or vegetative state. An NGO Common Cause had moved the top court way back in 2005 seeking right to make a living will, authorising the withdrawal of life support system in the event of will makers reaching irreversible vegetative state. It's a landmark law which places the power of choice in the hands of the individual, over government, medical or religious control which sees all suffering as "destiny".

Most doctors, however, agree that euthanasia should be made legal in cases where there is no scope of a patient recovering. Twitter reacted immediately to the decision, with most of the Twitterati coming out in support of the decision. With the latest decision, the SC approved living will for terminally ill patients.

Procedure for incompetent patients: In case of an incompetent patient (persons of unsound mind, etc), a near relative, medical practitioner etc, can apply to the High Court for granting permission to withdraw or withhold medical treatment.



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