The Supreme Court on Monday has refused to entertain a PIL as to whether a patient has right to reject medical treatment and pharmaceuticals but referred it to health ministry for taking a view on it .
The bench headed by Chief Justice of India J S Khehar said it is a sensitive matter and the Government has to take a decision. The Court asked the petitioners to give the representation to the health ministry.
“The matter is sensitive and the executive and legislature should take a decision on this issue and not court”, said the bench.
SC asked Centre to consider merits of the PIL seeking to give patients right to determine line of medical treatment in their last days.
The petition was filed, through Advocates Gautam Das and Nitin Mishra by a group of doctors raising questions upon the right of an individual to refuse medical treatment is violative of right to life conferred under Article 21 of the Constitution of India.
They sent an email dated 18 June, 2016 wherein a copy of the representation in the form of suggestions/ comments was proposed by the Petitioners to the Draft ‘The Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill’. However, the Respondent has failed to consider/ respond to the representation of the Petitioners in any manner whatsoever till date.
The Petitioners submitted that the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution entails the right to decide a person’s future medical care in the advent of a terminal illness.
“The right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution entails the right to record ones treatment preference whilst healthy and competent, or in anticipation of future incapacity, including by appointing an individual(s) to take medical decisions on behalf of such person”
In October, 2016 a bench, comprising the Chief Justice T.S.Thakur, and Justices D.Y.Chandrachud and L.Nageswara Rao, had declined to consider a Public Interest Litigation, seeking a declaration that any person, in a mental capacity to make decisions, has the right to choose or refuse any kind of medical treatment, which cannot be curtailed by any health care provider.
Read the Petition here.