Right to live with dignity includes the right to die with dignity, a five-judge bench led by Chief Justice Dipak Misra said, recognising the legality of passive euthanasia. "They seek a right to choose specific types of treatment, able to retain control throughout the entire span of their lives and to exercise autonomy in all medical decisions concerning their welfare and treatment", he said.
The bench laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board. It is also added in the report that these guidelines from supreme court need to be in force until the legislation will not come in front of all.
The new rules also permit individuals to draft a "living will" specifying they not be put on life support if they slip into an incurable coma.
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.
Father Paul Thelakkat, editor of the church-run Sathyadeepam magazine, said the church apprehends that the verdict could be misused as a right of dignified killing of terminally ill patients.
Mar 7, 2011: SC, on a separate plea on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, allows passive euthanasia for the nurse lying in vegetative state at a hospital in Mumbai. February 15, 2016: Centre claims deliberating the issue of passive euthanasia.
Commenting on the development Dr KK Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India and former national president of Indian Medical Association (IMA) said that the medical profession has been demanding such a provision for a long time.
The court permitted the preparation of a "living will" by the patient that will give the authorisation to remove all life support systems. The Supreme Court denoted,"Human beings have the right to die with dignity".
It is now legal in India for terminally ill patients to refuse medical treatment.
"The Kerala Catholic Bishops" Council (KCBC) has taken strong exception to the Supreme Court order on euthanasia terming it painful and objectionable.
A living will sets out a patient's wishes regarding how they want to be treated if they are seriously ill. "Most patients in public hospitals support the decision not to use life-support systems when we explain the prognosis".
The debate on euthanasia in India was triggered after the case of Aruna Shanbaug, a Mumbai nurse, who remained in a persistent vegetative state for almost 42 years following a sexual assault. It has also given sanction to 'Passive Euthanasia' and 'Living Will' and thereby issued guidelines in this regard.