Euthanasia and beyond: on the Supreme Court's verdict


"The court has held that an individual has a full right to decide that he should not take any kind of medical treatment or that he should not be kept alive by artificial life support systems", Bhushan added. OR was the first USA state to legalise "assisted suicide". The petition was referred to a Constitution Bench in 2014.

While the centre was on board on allowing passive euthanasia, it opposed the concept of living will.

What is a 'Living Will?' Such a process has been advocated by critical care and palliative care professionals in their landmark ethical position statement termed as "End of life Care Policy: An Integrated Care Plan for the Dying".

In 2011, SC ruled that life support could be removed for terminally ill patients in exceptional cases. A living will extends the principle of consent, whereby patients must agree to any medical intervention before doctors can proceed. "After this verdict, euthanasia and living will can not be misused as there will be strict guidelines", he said. The guidelines included seeking a declaration from a high court, after getting clearance from a medical board and state government. Passive Euthanasia can mean giving the patient painkillers that can eventually lead to death.

The bench said that the guidelines will be in force till legislation is passed by parliament to deal with the issue, our New Delhi correspondent reports.

In a landmark judgment, the Supreme Court today allowed the "living will" made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia.

The court had in last October taken up the plea, but then chosen to reserve its order. Dr Aggarwal said that such ADs can also be revoked orally or in writing by the patient at any time so long as he or she has maintained decisional capacity. The CJI's judgment said the heart of the matter is whether law permits the acceleration of death without suffering.

It should indicate the decision relating to the circumstances in which withholding or withdrawal of medical treatment can be resorted to.

Doctors have a mixed reaction to legalising euthanasia. Euthanasia is also commonly called "assisted suicide" due to the above reasons.

The right of patient who is incompetent to express his view can not be outside of fold of Article 21 of the Constitution of India. Medical technology must make advancements for prolonged life and make life easier.

It involves adjustment of some medical support which will then hasten the death of a person, who has been declared terminally-ill and letting nature take its due course.