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The Emergence and Importance of Passive Euthanasia in India

Author: Vishwas Jaiswal, Student, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Visakhapatnam, India

ABSTRACT Right from the birth, we all have the most basic right that is the Human Right which also includes Right to Life given U/A 21 of Constitution of India, in which Right to Life means Right to live with dignity with the richness of a quality life enriched in the constitution. Moreover, this fundamental right is available to both citizens and non-citizens of India. But the question that arises here is, whether the interpretation of Article 21 indulges Right to die along with Right to life? Since many years this topic, whether Right to live with dignity includes Right to die with dignity is a debatable one for the judiciary. With this regard, the Apex Court, in some cases that being discussed in this paper has given certain guidelines on how one can make a plea for euthanasia and a number of cases are included by the researcher that provides an idea about the advantages and disadvantages of legalizing euthanasia in India. According to the guidelines provided by the Supreme Court, in India only passive euthanasia is allowed and not the Active euthanasia, the difference between Active and Passive Euthanasia has been discussed further in the paper with exceptions where passive euthanasia can’t be given. In this paper, the researcher has also mentioned the cases prior to the legalization of euthanasia for understanding the exceptions in which euthanasia cannot be permitted, like the cases of M.S. Dubal v. State of Maharashtra, P. Rathinam v. Union of India, in which a major point of law was clarified by the Supreme Court on the constitutionality of § 309 of Indian Penal Code, 1872, after that the landmark case of Smt. Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab in which the constitutionality of § 306, Indian Penal Code, 1872 was discussed. With this the famous and landmark judgment that declared Passive Euthanasia as legal and the addition of Right to die with dignity as a Fundamental Right under article 21 is the case of Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug vs. Union of India and later the case of Common Cause (A Regd. Society) v. Union of India gave some more clarity on the process of euthanasia. The Legalization of Passive Euthanasia provided a great relief for many families and for thousands of patients who are in a vegetative state or even after being alive are dead. The reason for legalizing Passive Euthanasia is mentioned in this paper.

Keywords: Euthanasia, Living will, Passive Euthanasia in India.

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