Saturday, 28 May 2022

The legal status of the right to die

The legal status of the right to die

The legal position of the right to die is a complicated issue.

The right to life is recognised in Part III, Article 21 of the Indian Constitution as one of the fundamental and natural rights of every human being. The right to life protects an individual from being deprived of his or her life or liberty until and until the legal process has been followed. It is the state's responsibility to ensure that every individual has a good quality of life and a dignified life. The judiciary has interpreted this right in a complex manner and has added new rights to the list of rights that fall under its jurisdiction. Before the Common Cause decision, the right to die was not deemed a basic right; nevertheless, the court determined that the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right following the decision.

In the case of Common Cause vs. Union of India (2018)

As a result of the Writ Petition of Common Cause (A Regd. Society) vs. Union of India, which was heard on March 9, 2018, the Supreme Court of India recognised the right to die with dignity as a basic right protected by Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. In addition, the Advanced Medical Directives (Living Will) and the Medical Attorney Authorization have been granted effect in order to facilitate the exercise of this privilege. The long-awaited demand for the legalisation of passive euthanasia has been met with enthusiasm by the Indian legal system.

P. Rathinam vs. Union of India is a civil lawsuit filed in India.

It was extensively discussed before the Supreme Court in P. Rathinam vs. Union of India, which dealt with the constitutionality of Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code,1860 Act (XLV) of 1860, and whether the right to die was a part of the guarantee of the right to life under Article 21 of the Indian constitution. Specifically, the challenge raised under this Writ Petition dealt with the constitutional validity of Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code (1860), with the contention that the section was in violation of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution.

The strategy to passive euthanasia is described in detail.

The Supreme Court of India addressed the question of euthanasia for the first time in the case of Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug vs. Union of India and Others, in which the court addressed the matter for the first time. During her time as a nurse at the King Edward Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, Aruna Shanbaug sustained catastrophic injuries that resulted in her being placed in a permanent vegetative condition. She had been under the care of the hospital staff for 36 years, and there had been no noticeable progress.

Following the petitioner's death, Aruna's next friend filed a writ petition asking the court to order the petitioner's next friend to cease feeding Aruna and allow her to die peacefully. The two-judge bench relied on the case of Airedale N.H.S Trust vs. Bland as well as other foreign jurisprudence in reaching the conclusion that passive euthanasia might be used for severely ill patients or patients in a permanent vegetative state if certain safeguards were followed.


Despite the fact that the patient was conscious and capable of giving consent in the instant case, the court ruled that the patient's consent (or at the very least, the view of the nearest friend) was required. Having obtained the necessary consents and opinions, the matter would be referred to the appropriate High Court, where a Division Bench would be required to appoint a board of three medically qualified individuals. The doctors will then conduct a thorough examination of the patient. Furthermore, the court ruled that these principles must be observed until relevant law on the subject is passed by the Parliament of the country.

In this case, the two-judge panel further noted that the legal position around the world is that active euthanasia is prohibited unless there is legislation that enables it, whereas passive euthanasia is legal even in the absence of legislation so long as specific requirements and safeguards are followed. Passive euthanasia has been allowed in the vast majority of countries, either by legislation or judicial interpretation, but there is still debate about whether active euthanasia should be awarded legal status. In the case of Aruna Shanbaug, the court ruled that passive euthanasia would be permitted when the patient is clinically dead.


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