Passive euthanasia closely related to life with dignity: Chandrachud

SC allows passive euthanasia, upholds 'right to die with dignity'

SC allows passive euthanasia, upholds 'right to die with dignity'

"In the event the executor is incapable of taking a decision or develops impaired decision-making capacity, the consent of the guardian nominated by the executor in the advance directive should be obtained regarding refusal or withdrawal of medical treatment to the executor to the extent of and consistent with the clear instructions given in the advance directive", it said.

The Supreme Court's verdict on Friday legalising passive euthanasia owes much to the Aruna Shanbaug case, around which India debated euthanasia.

Atthe end, on March9th2018 Supreme Court legalized that if there is a "living" will made by terminally ill patients for passive euthanasia it can be executed following certain strict guidelines adopted to that effect. Every moment our bodies undergo change... life is not disconnected from death.

In 2005, the NGO Common Cause filed a petition before the court, arguing that when a medical expert is of the opinion that a person afflicted with a terminal disease has reached a point of no return, he should be given the right to refuse life support.

"The right to a dignified existence, the liberty to make decisions and choices and the autonomy of the individual are central to the quest to live a meaningful life".

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, said since a patient in a coma can not express his or her wishes, the law should allow him or her to put down in writing in advance that he or she should not be tortured. It is advocated that one of the main reasons which should prompt philosophers of law to undertake economic analysis seriously is that the most basic notion in the analysis - efficiency or Pareto optimality - was originally introduced to help solve a serious objection to the widely held moral theory, utilitarian.

The ruling means the family of someone in a permanent vegetative state and unable to communicate could withdraw life support in accordance with the patient's wishes. The court said, however, the living will needs to be drawn up when the person is of sound mind. With the passage of law involving passive euthanasia they felt disappointed. Active euthanasia is banned in India.

Shanbuag, a nurse, was left in a vegetative state after she was raped and strangled in 1973 at the hospital where she worked. In 2016, the Centre drafted the Medical Treatment of Terminally-ill Patients Bill, but was silent on the matter of a living will, says Jha. Meantime, a non-government organisation approached the top court with a plea to also legalise the right to a living will.

The Supreme Court verdict on the "living will" or the advance directive assigns doctors across the country a crucial role. The issue is not considered politically contentious in India.

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

Oct 11, 2017: Five-judge Constitution bench led by CJI Dipak Misra hears arguments and reserves the verdict. The PIL filed by the NGO wanted "Right to Die" as a Fundamental Right under Article 21 (Right to Life) of the Constitution of India. "Everyone deserves to die peacefully", Anumeha said.

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