SC gives sanction for ‘living will’ in passive euthanasia:

Supreme Court allowing passive euthanasia gives sanction to a living will. It also issues guidelines governing execution of living will and also passive euthanasia in the absence of living wills. The bench, comprising justices A K Sikri, A M Khanwilkar, D Y Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan also laid down guidelines as to who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

The top court said that directions and guidelines laid down by it and its directive shall remain in force till a legislation is brought on the issue. The ‘living will’ is a concept where a man or woman decides in much advance whether he or she wants to be kept on life support or vegetative condition, in case of a terminal illness.

The CJI, while reading out the judgment, said that all the judges were unanimous that the ‘living will’ should be permitted since a person cannot be allowed to continue suffering in a comatose state when he or she doesn’t wish to live.

The Supreme Court pronounced the verdict on a plea seeking legal sanction for passive euthanasia under which a person suffering from a terminal disease and in his/her last stage of life with no chance of recovery is allowed not to sustain life through artificial support system.The court says it has laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

A living will, is an advance written directive to physicians for end-of-life medical care. It pointed out that this may lead to the abuse and neglect of the elderly, especially if they were financially well-off.

The SC said it has laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board. The court says its guidelines and directives will remain in force till a legislation is brought to deal with the issue.

Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra says other members of the five-judge Constitution bench have concurred on the guidelines and directives passed by it. Supreme Court lawyer, Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, Common Cause, which had filed the PIL, had earlier submitted to the Apex Court that since a patient under coma or vegetative conditions could not express his/her wish, so he should be given the right to die.

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