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As SC legalises passive euthanasia, India joins league of select nations

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

With the holding the with dignity a fundamental right and recognising 'living will' made by terminally-ill patients as permissible, has joined a league of select countries where passive has been accorded legal sanctity.

The English Dictionary defines "euthanasia" as "the painless killing of a patient suffering from an or in an irreversible coma".

The term is derived from the Greek "euthanatos", with 'eu' meaning well, and 'thanatos' meaning In ancient and Rome, citizens were entitled to a good to end the suffering of a

There are different laws in each country. It can be classified into five types -- voluntary, non-voluntary, involuntary, passive and active.

joins countries like Netherlands, Canada, Belgium, and in legalising passive


While dealing with the issue, the five judges arrived at a concurrent finding by analysing the practise of euthanasia in various countries.

and Justice A M Khanwilkar, who wrote a separate judgement, noted that in the US, active euthanasia was illegal but physician-assisted is legal in the states of Oregon, and A distinction has been drawn between euthanasia and physician-assisted

In both and Washington, only self-assisted dying is permitted. Doctor-administered assisted dying and any form of assistance to help a person commit outside the provisions of the legislation remains a criminal offence.

In Canada, physician-assisted is illegal according to Section 241(b) of the Criminal Code of

In Germany, assisted suicide is illegal. However, this is not the case for passive assisted suicide. Thus, if doctors stop life-prolonging measures on the written wishes of a patient, it is not considered as a criminal offence.

Besides, it is legal for doctors in to administer painkillers to a dying patient to ease The painkillers, cause low breathing that may lead to respiratory arrest and, ultimately, death.

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

First Published: Fri, March 09 2018. 20:30 IST
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