Supreme Court permits passive euthanasia

In a landmark verdict, Supreme Court has given legal sanction to passive euthanasia which permits ‘living will’ by patients on withdrawing medical support if they slip into an irreversible coma. The order was passed by a five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.  Though the judges gave four separate opinions, all of them were unanimous that a ‘living will’ should be allowed, because an individual should not be allowed to continue suffering in a vegetative state when they don’t wish to continue living.

What is Passive Euthanasia

It is said to be a condition where there is a withdrawal of medical treatment  with the deliberate intention to hasten the death of a terminally-ill patient.

NGO ‘Common Cause’, filed the petition and approached the court asking for recognition of ‘living will’. And further,  a medical expert said that when a person afflicted with a terminal disease had reached a point of no return, then he should be given the right to refuse being put on life support.

The petition said, “How can a person be told that he/she does not have right to prevent torture on his body? Right to life includes right to die with dignity. A person cannot be forced to live on a support of a ventilator. Keeping a patient alive by artificial means against his/her wishes is an assault on his/her body.


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