Passive Euthanasia is permissible with guidelines: Supreme Court

Supreme Court of India
Supreme Court of India, File Photo

New Delhi, March 9: The Supreme Court on Friday said passive Euthanasia is permissible with guidelines. 

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Apex Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra passed the order saying ‘living will’ be permitted but with the permission from family members of the person who sought passive Euthanasia and also a team of expert doctors who say that the person’s revival is practically impossible.

While allowing a person to make the advance directive or living will the Bench, however, attached strict conditions for executing the “will” made by a person in his normal state of health and mind.

“Human beings have the right to die with dignity”, it said after allowing passive Euthanasia with guidelines.

“To deprive an individual of dignity at the end of life is to deprive him of meaningful existence,” said Justice Chandrachud.

The court stated the life support can be removed only after the statutory medical board declares the patient to be incurable.

“Life and death are inseparable. Bodies involve continuous change but mind remains constant… Death represents culmination of life… Freedom, liberty are core of meaningful life,” he added.

The court’s judgment came on a plea filed in 2005 by an NGO Common Cause seeking the right to make a living will authorising the withdrawal of life support system in the event of the will-makers reaching an irreversible vegetative state.

Senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had stated that since a patient under coma cannot express his/her wish, law should allow him/her to put it down in writing in advance that he/she should not be tortured.

In the absence of a law authorising doctors to do so, they keep incurable patients on life support, he had said.


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