Passive euthanasia allowed in India
After the Supreme Court nod for passive euthanasia in 2011, it dropped enough hints on devising a mechanism to legitimize ‘living will’. Accordingly, the latest ruling by the same court on ‘living will’ by elevating an individual’s right to die with dignity is a landmark judgment. In fact, living will is an extension of passive euthanasia but has greater force because it allows an individual to exercise bodily autonomy even when consciousness has been seeped out of the body. Medical ethics and human rights place a moral obligation upon doctors and relatives to accept patient’s preferences under any cost. In short, it is merely recognition that death cannot be annulled.
Despite reservations expressed by certain religious clerics, it is a milestone verdict because the court after considering the pros and cons had come to a just and fair conclusion that right to die peacefully with dignity is as important as right to life guaranteed under article 21 of the constitution. Essentially doctors and relatives must withdraw life support in the event of terminal illness or patient slid into a vegetative state or irreversible coma.
All in all, Supreme Court legalising passive euthanasia and approving living will has upheld rightly an individual’s sovereignty over his/her body by aiding a terminally ill patients a dignified exit from the world with a rider that living will must be voluntarily written without coercion or compulsion by a person of sound mind and health.
— R. Srinivasan