Supreme Court on legal sanction to Passive Euthanasia and the Governments Stand

Common Cause Vs Union of India & Others, has “laid down the principles relating to the procedure for execution of Advance Directive and provided the guidelines to give effect to passive euthanasia in both circumstances

A five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by then  Chief Justice of India Sh. Dipak Misra, in its final judgment on 9th March, 2018 in the matter of Common Cause Vs Union of India & Others, had “laid down the principles relating to the procedure for execution of Advance Directive and provided the guidelines to give effect to passive euthanasia in both circumstances, namely, where there are advance directives and where there are none, in exercise of the power under Article 142 of the Constitution”. The Hon’ble Supreme Court has further directed that “the directive and guidelines shall remain in force till the Parliament brings a legislation in the field”.

Supreme court has not given legal sanction to passive euthanasia, as of now the matter regarding formulation of legislation on Passive Euthanasia is under consideration in the Ministry.

Also the Law Commission, vide its 241st Report titled ‘Passive Euthanasia- A Relook’, proposed for making a legislation on Passive Euthanasia’ and also prepared a draft Bill, The medical treatment of terminally ill patients (protection of patients and medical practitioners) Bill’. This bill has been examined by the Committee of Experts under the Directorate General of Health Services in the Ministry.

Major recommendations of the Expert Committee are as below:
# It has proposed only Passive Euthanasia.
# No provision for Active Euthanasia.
# Provision for a written medical directive given by a competent person called as Advance Medical Directive.  Applicable for patients with terminal illness, as defined in the Bill.
# Separate provisions for process of withholding of treatment for competent and incompetent terminally ill patients.
The matter regarding formulation of legislation on Passive Euthanasia is under consideration in this Ministry.

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