SC Grapples With Relevance of Euthanasia In The Era Of Medical Progress, Reserves Judgment [Read Written Submission]

SC Grapples With Relevance of Euthanasia In The Era Of Medical  Progress, Reserves Judgment [Read Written Submission]

The Supreme Court Constitution bench, on Wednesday, concluded its hearing on the Living Will and Euthanasia, by taking note of the submissions by the counsel, that medical science is a growing discipline, and therefore, the possibility of revival of a person, who  is considered terminally ill, cannot be ruled out.

The Chief Justice of India, Dipak Misra, who headed the bench, made frequent interventions during the hearing, by making it clear that right to live does not include the right to die, and that it should be ensured that the dying process should be dignified.

Justice D.Y.Chandrachud observed that while Passive Euthanasia presumes the right to die, the problem is that it also postulates the right to live. For instance, he said, one can say, “I have lived my life.  I don’t want outside intervention to prolong my life”.  Right to die is not presumed here, he suggested.

The Additional Solicitor General, P.V.Narasimha submitted that right to die is influenced by the vagaries of science.  He opposed the concept of Living Will and the Medical Power of Attorney  in case of terminally ill patients.  His view is that consent expressed in the Living Wills could not be considered as informed, because the persons who opt for it may not be aware of future medical developments, which could contribute to treatment of medical conditions, considered as terminal today.  He also cautioned that there could be complications if the persons making Living Wills today, want to withdraw their consent to right to die later.

Earlier, senior advocates, Arvind Datar and Sanjay Hegde sought recognition of Living Will as part of the Right to Life.

The bench reserved its judgment in the afternoon, after hearing counsel for interveners and impleaders  in the case.

Prashant Bhushan,  is the amicus curiae in the case.  Delhi Medical Council, Society For the Right to Die with Dignity, Maharashtra, Dr.Surendra Dhelia of Adult Education Institute, Maharashtra, and Indian Society of Critical Care Medicine, Maharashtra are the  interveners.

The judgment of the five-Judge bench is expected to clarify a  number of issues concerning Living Will and Euthanasia, and help the Government to introduce a legislation in Parliament legalizing Passive Euthanasia with sufficient safeguards against its misuse.

Read the Written Submission Here