Supreme Court Legalises passive euthanasia: Rules five-judge bench

Dignity in death is a facet of Right to Live, rules five-judge bench

In a landmark verdict, the Supreme Court has allowed ‘living will’ but with strict guidelines. The top court has said the guidelines will remain effective till a law is in place.

A ‘living will’ is made by a person, in his normal state of mind, seeking voluntary euthanasia in case of terminal illness, if he or she reaches an irreversible vegetative state.

What is Passive euthanasia?

Passive euthanasia is a condition where there is withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten the death of a terminally-ill patient.

A five judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court said passive euthanasia is permissible; the court has framed detailed guidelines using its extraordinary power.The order was passed today by a five-judge Constitution bench of Chief Justice (CJI) Dipak Misra and Justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan. The apex court’s order came on a plea by the NGO ‘Common Cause’.

The ‘advance directives’ can be issued and executed by ‘next friend and relatives’ of terminally ill people but a medical board to take a final call.

As per the guidelines of the Supreme Court, a family member or friend of the terminally ill person, seeking passive euthanasia can go to the High Court, which will constitute a medical board that will decide if passive euthanasia is needed.

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Full Judgement