New Delhi, MArch 9, 2018: The Supreme Court on Friday allowed passive euthanasia, saying that human beings have the right to die with dignity. Permitting euthanasia, the apex court said that it will be permissible with guidelines.
The order was passed by a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. The SC said that the person can decide when to give up the life support system.
The apex court also permitted an individual to draft a living will specifying that they not be put on life support if they slip into an incurable coma in the future. In a ’living will’, a person can make a statement in advance that their life should not be prolonged by putting them on a ventilator or an artificial support system.
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.
The apex court’s verdict came on a plea seeking legal sanction for passive euthanasia under which a person suffering from a terminal disease - and in their last stage of life with no chance of recovery - is allowed to not sustain life through an artificial support system.
The petitioner, NGO ’Common Cause’, had approached the court seeking a direction for recognition of ’living will’ and contended that when a medical expert said that a person afflicted with terminal disease had reached a point of no return, then she should be given the right to refuse being put on life support.