The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its verdict on ‘living will’ in cases of passive euthanasia, reported news agency ANI. A five-judge Constitution bench comprising Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra were deciding on a petition filed by an NGO on the issue of euthanasia and ‘living will’. The petitioner has argued that a ‘living will’ gives the patient the Right to die peacefully, which is part of the Right to Life guaranteed by the Constitution under Article 21.
A ‘living will’ is when a patient decides for himself if they should or should not be put on life support in case of a terminal illness. NGOs counsel Prashant Bhushan argued that if people are allowed to make a will, with necessary safeguards, it would enable them to opt for death without prolonging their suffering. Bhushan further added, “Forcing a person to take medical treatment against their will is also a social issue. On one hand, you are short of medical facilities etc, and on other hand, you force those who are in a hopeless situation to take treatment.”
The Centre has been vetting a draft law which will allow passive euthanasia but it is opposing the ‘living will’ clause citing a fear that it could be misused.