In the ruling passed, the Supreme Court said that the "living will" be permitted only with the consent of the family members of the person who has sought passive euthanasia.
As reported by Outlook India, a five-judge constitution board headed by Chief Justice of IndiaDipak Misra, laid down the guidelines for the execution of the will and how the medical board would approve passive Euthanasia. In a "living will", a person can make a statement in advance that their life should not be prolonged by putting them on a ventilator or an artificial support system.
The apex court had been hearing a PIL was filed by NGO Common Cause in 2005 seeking a robust system of certification for passive euthanasia and legal recognition for "living will" in India. The apex court also permitted an individual to draft a living will specifying that they not be put on life support if they slip into an incurable coma in the future.
The Supreme Court also settled any ambiguity on allowing passive euthanasia as it cited the landmark Aruna Shanbaug case on 11 March 2011. Second is the Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (DPAHC) or Health Care Proxy and third is the Living Will (LW).
The top court's order, which effectively makes the right to die with dignity a part of the fundamental right to life and liberty, is made poignant by the judges delving into issues such as what makes life meaningful, and the moral, ethical, social and medical complexities associated with the question of how to approach death. It defined "living will" as a document in written form by which a patient can express his/her intention regarding the medical treatment to be advanced in case ofterminallyillnessor no longer in a condition to express informed consent. Explaining the importance of applying cost-benefit test even to constitutional principles, Justice Sikri said, "At times, for deciding legal issues, economic analysis of law assumes importance".
Rights of a competent patient: Every competent patient (including minors above the age of 16 years) will have the right to decide and request the medical practitioner to withhold, withdraw, or continue medical treatment in case of a terminal illness.
File: India's Supreme Court is pictured through a gate in New Delhi, India May 26, 2016. It is a concept associated with passive euthanasia. The doctors treating such a patient will withdraw medical support provided the patient has left behind a "living will" for pulling the "plug" in such situations.
Thus the Constitution Bench held that an adult human being having mental capacity to take an informed decision has right to refuse medical treatment including withdrawal from life saving devices.
Active Euthanasia is the act where in the state takes the life of a dying individual with the means of a lethal injection or substance.
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