You are here: Home » PTI Stories » National » News
Business Standard

Can a person make 'living will' for passive euthanasia; SC verdict likely tomorrow

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The is likely to pronounce tomorrow its judgement on a petition seeking recognition of 'living will' made by terminally-ill patients for passive

Living will is a written document that allows a patient to give explicit instructions in advance about the medical treatment to be administered when he or she is terminally ill or no longer able to express informed consent.

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

A five-judge constitution bench headed by had on October 11 last year reserved its verdict on the plea.

The bench, also comprising justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y and Ashok Bhushan, had indicated during the hearing that it might recognise the execution of 'living will' in cases of passive euthanasia, as right to die peacefully is part of fundamental right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Article 21 provides that "no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except according to procedure established by law."

The apex court, however, had observed that there should be adequate safeguards and implementation of living will would be subject to medical board's certifying that the is irreversible.

The top court had in 2011 recognised passive in Aruna Shanbaug's case by which it had permitted withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment from patients not in a position to make an informed decision.

The Centre had opposed recognition of 'living will' and said the consent for removal of artificial support system given by a patient may not be an informed one and without being aware of medical advancements.

It had cited examples of various countries in disallowing creation of living will by patients.

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for petitioner NGO Common Cause, had argued that safeguards were needed while taking a decision by medical boards to withdraw life support of a patient.

The bench was hearing the PIL filed in 2005 by the NGO, which said when a medical expert is of the opinion that a person afflicted with a has reached a point of no return, he should be given the right to refuse life support.

On January, 15, 2016, the Centre had said the 241st report of the stated that passive should be allowed with certain safeguards and there was also a --Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2006.

It had said that on specific occasions, the question of withdrawing supporting devices to sustain cardio-pulmonary function even after brain death, shall be decided only by a doctors' team and not by the alone.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 08 2018. 20:35 IST