Business Standard

SC allows 'living will' of terminally ill persons

IANS  |  New Delhi 

The on Friday said a person has the "with dignity" and can make an advance "living will" authorising the withdrawal of system if in medical view he has reached an irreversible stage of

While allowing a person to make the advance directive or living will, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Dipak Misra, however, attached strict conditions for executing the "will" made by a person in his normal state of and mind.

In the living will, a person can state in advance that his or her life should not be prolonged with a ventilator or artificial support system.

The bench, also including judges A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, and Ashok Bhushan, laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive would be granted by the medical board.

Recognising the "with dignity", the court permitted a person to draft in advance a living will in case she/he slips into an incurable condition.

"To deprive an individual of at the end of life is to deprive him of meaningful existence," said Justice Chandrachud while allowing the living will for passive

The court said the can be removed only after the statutory medical board declares the patient to be incurable.

The bench said its guidelines and directives should remain in force till a legislation was brought to deal with the issue.

"Life and are inseparable. Bodies involve continuous change but mind remains constant... represents culmination of life... Freedom, liberty are core of meaningful life," Justice Chandrachud said.

The court pronounced four separate but concurring judgements.

The court's verdict came on a plea filed in 2005 by an NGO Common Cause seeking the right to make a living will authorising the withdrawal of system in the event of the will-makers reaching an

Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had said that since a patient under cannot express his/her wish, law should allow him/her to put it down in writing in advance that he/she should not be tortured.

In the absence of a to do so, they keep incurable patients on life support, he said.



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First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 13:10 IST