Government mulling to introduce law for passive euthanasia

On March 09, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court, headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, in its final judgment gave an approval for passive euthanasia. The court stated had further directed that ‘the directive and guidelines shall remain in force till the Parliament brings a legislation in the field’

Government mulling to introduce law for passive euthanasia

In a written reply in the Lok Sabha today, Union Health Minister, J P Nadda stated that the matter regarding formulation of legislation on passive euthanasia is under consideration by the health ministry.

He said that the Law Commission has submitted a report titled ‘Passive Euthanasia – A Relook’, which has proposed for making a legislation on ‘passive euthanasia’ and also prepared a draft Bill.

Government mulling to introduce law for passive euthanasia

The medical treatment of terminally ill patients (protection of patients and medical practitioners) Bill’. This bill has been examined by the Committee of Experts under the Directorate General of Health Services in this Ministry. Major recommendations of the expert committee are as follows:

  • It has proposed only passive euthanasia.
  • No provision for active euthanasia.
  • Provision for a written medical directive given by a competent person called as ‘Advance Medical Directive.’
  • Applicable for patients with terminal illness, as defined in the Bill.
  • Separate provisions for process of withholding of treatment for competent and incompetent terminally ill patients.

In the month of March, the Supreme Court had passed a historic verdict which allowed passive euthanasia based on the living will of a person if they slipped into an irreversible coma in the future.

On Friday, a debate was held on the subject of passive euthanasia, wherein doctors and medical experts gave their respective views on this issue.

Dr Mary Muckaden, Head of the Palliative Care Department at Tata Memorial Hospital said, “I welcome the decision given by the Supreme Court. But, the role played by the palliative care unit staff is very important. With the help of palliative care, utmost care of the patient is taken. Due to the excruciating pain, the patient has no desire to stay alive. But, with the help of palliative care we try to help the patients, by reducing their pain.”

Dr Shripad Banawali, Head of Child Cancer Department at Tata Memorial Hospital said, “Many times terminally ill patients suffer a lot during the course of medical treatment. Sometimes they just get fed-up with the idea of living. That’s the time when they start thinking about passive euthanasia. The decision given by the Supreme court is justified.”