Supreme Court to deliver verdict on passive euthanasia and living will

SC allows the terminally ill or comatose people the right to die

According to them, the Right to life includes right to die with dignity.

By permitting passive Euthanasia and "living will" of a terminally ill patient, the five-judge constitution bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra reflected on its 2011 precedent when it permitted doctors of a Mumbai hospital to stop force-feeding sexual assault victim Aruna Shanbaug who remained in a Persistent Vegetative State for four decades.

A five-judge constitution bench, which recognised that a terminally-ill patient or a person in PVS can execute an "advance medical directive" to refuse medical treatment, spelt out the safeguards saying such a directive "cannot operate in abstraction".

The bench laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how a nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

In 2009, activist and journalist Pinki Virani took up her case and appealed to the supreme court to allow Shanbaugh to die.

SC allows passive euthanasia.

As per definition, it's a direction issued by a terminally ill patient that "he or she... shall or shall not be given medical treatment in future when or he she becomes terminally ill".

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The document can be presented to a hospital for appropriate action in the event the executant's health worsens.

The top court said the right to refuse medical treatment "stands on a different pedestal as compared to suicide, physician assisted suicide or even euthanasia".

Passive euthanasia means withdrawing life support of terminally ill patients or those in incurable comas while active euthanasia is done by administering a lethal injection.

April 28, 2006: "The Law Commission suggested a draft bill on passive euthanasia and said High Courts should decide on such pleas after taking experts" opinions. Her only sustenance was mashed food that the nurses fed her. Aruna, who passed away in May, 2015 was probably one of the longest living comatose patients.

In case of minors above 16 years, the consent of the parent and the major spouse will also be required.

"A consensus should be developed on whether to allow the killing of terminally ill people with no chances of revival", he then said, sparking the debate across the country, with many favoring the move to relieve people of their sufferings.

Without regard to provisions in any other law, in cases where a medical practitioner withdraws treatment on the request of a patient, his action will be lawful.

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