In a judgment delivered on March 09, the court said patients have the right to refuse life-support instead of prolonging their pain, and that a "living will", in which they can authorise family members in advance to let them die, should be recognised.
May 11, 2005: SC takes note of PIL of NGO "Common Cause" seeking nod to allow terminally-ill persons to execute a living will for passive euthanasia.
The bench, also comprising justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan said that a person with no will to live shouldn't suffer in a comatose state.
This would apply to patients suffering from terminal illness and who are in a vegetative state. "Meanwhile, a law on passive euthanasia is on the ambit", additional solicitor general, P.S. Narasimha, who had represented the Centre, said after the ruling.
If the collector's board refuses permission, the family or friends can move the high court which will examine the case with the help of an independent medical board before taking a call. Right to life includes right to die with dignity.
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"It is due to this difference that most of the countries across the world have legalised passive euthanasia either by legislation or by judicial interpretation with certain conditions and safeguards".
A living will sets out a patient's wishes regarding how they want to be treated if they are seriously ill.
An advance directive or living will from a patient to stop medical treatment at a stage - "particularly when he is brain dead or clinically dead or not revivable" quelled apprehensions of future regret for relatives and criminal action against doctors, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
This opinion will be conveyed to the district collector who will have this decision vetted by another medical board consisting the chief medical officer and three medical experts of 20 years standing. This means that if a patient has been kept alive by the use of life-saving medical equipment, such as a ventilator, or drugs or substances, such as food administered through a pipe or medicines, then these would be stopped and the patient would be allowed to die a "natural course of death". The term, "medical treatment", here refers to artificial life support system that can delay death.
The debate on euthanasia in India was triggered after the case of Aruna Shanbaug, a Mumbai nurse, who remained in a persistent vegetative state for almost 42 years following a sexual assault. July 15, 2014: A five-judge bench commenced hearing on the plea, issued notices to all states and union territories and appointed senior advocate TR Andhyarujina as an amicus curiae.