LAW TO ALLOW PASSIVE EUTHANASIA ON TABLE
People Should Have the Right to Choose .There are many sides to the dilemma of whether or not euthanasia should be carried out. There is the question of morality, the question of active versus passive euthanasia and the question of when euthanasia should be put into use. None of these questions are totally cut and dry. There seem to be more gray areas within this issue than there are black and white. Yet when you look at the problem on a personal level with the actual individuals involvement.
- Now comes the news about the draft bill on Passive euthanasia. The Centre on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that it has prepared a draft bill on passive euthanasia that allowed the terminally-ill patients to withdraw the medical treatment.
- The government, however, opposed before a five-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice, the concept of ‘Living Will’ that allowed a person of sound mind to leave, a will to stop medical treatment if there is no hope of a cure.
WHAT IS PASSIVE EUTHANASIA?
- The term "passive euthanasia" used by the Supreme Court in its verdict on Aruna Shanbaug's case is defined as the withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill-patient's death.
- In passive euthanasia, the medical board is free to decide if the life support system can be withdrawn but it cannot be understood as inducing the fact of death.
- Passive euthanasia or letting die may be realized by active doing (withdrawing life-sustaining treatment) as well as omission (i.e. withholding treatment).
ABOUT THE BILL-
- The draft bill was prepared to take the Law Commission of India's recommendation in its reports.The bench, also comprising Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, said that there has to be a balance between inherent individual and state interests as the right to live does not include the right to die.
- The draft legislation entitled as 'The Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill' was prepared by the Union Health Ministry in June, last year has been submitted.
- On the benefits of a ‘living will’, the CJI said: “A person is on ventilator. Who will take the decision to remove the life support. Everybody is in confusion. If there is a will, it is morally sustainable. When a will is made, all are free, relatives are free, doctors don’t have any inhibition that anyone will accuse them of murder. They only have to take a conscious decision.”
- The question of whether a terminally ill person—or in the case of someone rendered medically incapable, the relatives and medical professionals—should be allowed to choose when to forgo treatment or life-prolonging medical support speaks to fundamental issues of a human life’s intrinsic value and the authority to end it.
- It is not an easy one—less than a dozen countries in the world currently have legal provisions for euthanasia.
- India is one of them via the Supreme Court’s 2011 verdict in the Aruna Shanbaug case. There, it rejected the euthanasia petition filed by journalist Pinki Virani but established the legal framework for allowing passive euthanasia (as opposed to active euthanasia, which would entail the doctor administering drugs to end the patient’s life).
The committee considered the draft Bill submitted by the law commission after elaborate discussions with all the stakeholders. The revised bill has been sent to the government for its consideration and it will be introduced in parliament. The Centre had formed a panel to look into this. The Bill would have adequate safeguards to ensure it is not misused.