Supreme Court of India legalise passive euthanasia, sets guidelines

by Abel Hampton March 10, 2018, 0:30
Supreme Court of India legalise passive euthanasia, sets guidelines

The Central government has already mooted a bill governing passive euthanasia and "living power of attorney". It includes authorizing his/her family to withdraw life support system in case a medical board declared that they were beyond medical help. The Bench comprising Chief Justice P Sathasivam and Justices Ranjan Gogoi and Shiva Kirti Singh while citing the judgment in Gian Kaur v.

Commenting on the development Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India and former national president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that the medical profession has been demanding such a provision for a long time. The petition was referred to a Constitution Bench in 2014.

The Supreme Court has framed strict guidelines and formed a medical panel for passive euthanasia.

What is a 'Living Will?'

The apex court has also ordered that a "living will" will be permitted for the person seeking this. A person who is terminally ill or in a persistent vegetative state can make a "choice" to prematurely extinguish his life, the bench said. A living will extends the principle of consent, whereby patients must agree to any medical intervention before doctors can proceed. Their decision would serve as preliminary opinion on whether or not to certify carrying out the instructions in the living will.

Dr Anupam Sibal, the Group Medical Director and Senior Pediatric Gastroenterologist and Hepatologist in Apollo Hospitals Group said the judgement marks the culmination of the debate that started with a PIL in 2005.

Today's judgment lays down the exact procedure for drafting and approving such living wills.

A 5-judge Constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, added that the guidelines will be in force till legislation is passed by Parliament to deal with the issue. The later was held not to be covered under any right flowing from Article 21. Death represents culmination of life...

The term "Euthanasia" comes from the Greek word "εὐθανασία", that means "good death".

While it is called assisted suicide, euthanasia is different. Therefore, the SC said the relatives of a patient who has not written a "living will" can approach high courts asking for passive euthanasia.

Secretary General of the IMA, Dr R N Tandon said, "Just as every person has the right to life, they also have the right to die with dignity". It has a basic connect with the autonomy of the individual and the right to self-determination. With the new order in place, now, a person under medical treatment can decide when to give-up life support.

Instead, an attempt can be made to provide safeguards for exercise of such advance directive.

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