Euthanasia in India

By | November 20, 2017
Euthanasia - Legal Bites

In our everyday life, we frequently go over in critical condition patients that are incapacitated and are absolutely subject to others. It really harms their slants. Taking a gander at them we would state that passing will be a superior choice for them instead of living such a difficult life; which is agonizing physically and additionally mentally. In any case, if then again we take a gander at the Netherlands where euthanasia is made legitimate, we will see that how it is mishandled there. So following its illustration nobody needs euthanasia to be legitimized in India.

Be that as it may, the inquiry that lies previously us is which will be a superior alternative. In this undertaking, some fundamental focuses in regards to euthanasia are talked about and afterwards it is absolutely on the peruser to choose which will be better: authorizing or not sanctioning euthanasia. In spite of the fact that the Supreme Court has officially given its choice on this point yet at the same time, a few questions emerge in our point which we have to investigate precisely and reach a conclusion.


At the point when a man ends his life by his own act, it is alluded to as “suicide”. To end the life of a man by a demand of others or on the demand of the perished is known as “euthanasia” or in a less complex frame, “mercy killing.”


Euthanasia truly signifies “good death”. It is essential to achieve the death of an in critical condition understanding or an incapacitated. It is depended on with the goal that the most recent days of a patient who has been experiencing such a sickness which is terminal in nature or which has handicapped him can calmly wind up his life and which can likewise turn out to be less agonizing for him. Consequently, the essential aim of euthanasia is to guarantee a less excruciating death to a man who is regardless going to bite the dust after a long stretch of agony.

Euthanasia is likewise prevalently known as ‘mercy death’ as it is given to diminish the agony of the patient. Euthanasia is polished so a man can live and also bite the dust with nobility. Euthanasia (“good death” ) is the act of ending the life of an in critical condition individual or creature in an effortless or negligibly agonizing path, to limit enduring.

Under criminal law in India, Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code actually classifies the act of attempted suicide as a crime punishable by law with imprisonment for a term of up to one year or a fine or both. There is a type of co-connection amongst suicide and euthanasia as in both are sorts of voluntary closure of one’s own life. While the endeavour to carry out suicide has been dealt with as a wrongdoing (unless it is demonstrated that the individual endeavouring to confer the demonstration is of unsound personality), euthanasia is treated with somewhat more sympathy by the lawmakers.

Euthanasia has five unique groupings, and furthermore, there are various methods for its application. The Supreme Court, on account of Aruna Shanbaug, has effectively given its decision on this point yet at the same time a few questions emerge, which should be investigated with due care.

At the point when the patient expressly asks for euthanasia, it is alluded to as voluntary euthanasia. Legislatures of numerous nations have rendered this frame as legitimate, and if not lawful, they have decriminalized it. It is considered as manslaughter by a couple of nations, yet in the event that the specialist satisfies some legitimate prerequisites, it isn’t viewed as a criminal homicide, and such a man won’t be prosecuted.

At the point when a man is incapable of giving consent with regards to the methodology of euthanasia, in such situations where he/she is unconscious, legally incompetent, or comatose, at that point in such a case, it is alluded to as non-voluntary euthanasia. Non-voluntary euthanasia can even be in the situations where beforehand a patient has proclaimed his will to kick the bucket be that as it may, by and by he/she can’t do as such. Euthanasia is globally illicit on account of youngsters, as they are not competent to contract. It may be acknowledged in certain uncommon conditions.

The disarray of non-voluntary euthanasia being like involuntary euthanasia holds on now and again. On account of non-voluntary euthanasia, the patient’s consent can’t be drawn, though, on account of involuntary euthanasia, the demonstration is completed against the will of the patient.

With regards to procedural qualifications, euthanasia can be separated into two general classifications: Active Euthanasia and Passive Euthanasia. The demonstration of compellingly executing a man who is in a vegetative state, and his/her condition can’t be improved any is known as active euthanasia. In this sort, deadly substances, and so on., are utilized for the slaughtering of such a patient. While, in Passive Euthanasia, the source on which the individual is needy forever is evacuated with the goal that he/she may bite the dust in the long run.


India has amalgamated its constitution by alluding to the prescribing of different nations, and the courts have been now and again alluding to various remote choices. Passive Euthanasia is legitimate in India.Basically, the act of passive euthanasia is directed by methods for an unyielding disregard to support life. This enables the hand of nature to follow all the way through and enable the body to accomplish the last stop.

By the method of passive euthanasia, it is lawful for specialists to pull back life support to patients who are in a changeless vegetative state, according to the historic point judgment in Aruna Shanbaug’s case. The law goes on the matter of Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug v Union of India is a landmark Judgment with respect to euthanasia in India.

The Honb’le Court opined in this case that “Euthanasia is one of the most perplexing issues, which the courts and legislatures all over the world are facing today.”

In the immediate case, Aruna Ramchandra was observed to live in a changeless vegetative state however her mind was observed to work a bit. She had no relations and was being dealt with by the KEM healing facility staff in Mumbai where she had been acting as a nurse before.The care was taken by a staff which was observed to be radiant. A social dissident had moved the Court, however, it was held that she didn’t have a locus remaining in the issue.

Be that as it may, the case drove a two-judge seat of the Supreme Court comprising of Markandey Katju and Gyan Sudha Mishra, JJ. to give profound thought to the entire issue of allowing euthanasia. The bench ruled out active euthanasia but held that passive euthanasia may be allowed in suitable cases subject to certain precautions. If the patient is conscious his/her own wishes have to be taken into account.

On the other hand, if the patient is in a coma, the wishes of near relatives (spouse, parents, children and others) have to be taken into account. In case no near relation is available or is forthcoming the next friend, as in the present case the KEM hospital staff can take the initiative. Then the matter has to go to the High Court, and a bench of at least two judges have to make the decision. The bench is to constitute a team of three competent doctors to examine the patient.

In addition, the bench should also ascertain the views of the State and the near relations of the patient. The Supreme Court ruled that this procedure should be followed until Parliament had legislated on the matter.

The case could have easily been dismissed in keeping with the law passed in an earlier judgment in Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab, wherein it was decided that the right to life as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution does not include the right to die. However, the Court and Hon’ble Judges were struck by the unique needs of Aruna’s case and re-opened issues pertaining to the question of whether the right to die is included in the right to live.

The Court in this connection has laid down the guidelines which will continue to be the law until Parliament makes a law on this point.

A decision has to be taken to discontinue life support either by the parents or the spouse or other close relatives or in the absence of any of them, such a decision can be taken even by a person or a body of persons acting as a next friend. It can also be made by the doctors attending the patient. However, the decision should be made bona fide in the best interest of the patient.

Even if a decision is taken by the near relatives or doctors or next friend to withdraw life support, such a decision requires approval from the High Court concerned.

When such an application is filled, the Chief Justice of the High Court should forthwith constitute a Bench of at least two Judges who should decide to grant approval or not. A committee of three reputed doctors to be nominated by the Bench, who will give a report regarding the condition of the patient. Before giving the verdict, a notice regarding the report should be given to the close relatives and the State. After hearing the parties, the High Court can give its verdict.


The Draft Bill, which was proposed in the 241st report of Law Commission, manages the subject of passive euthanasia and will of living, a deed in which a man expresses his or her desire to have or not to have unprecedented life expanding measures utilized when recuperation from the infection isn’t conceivable. In the event that acknowledged, the Medical Council of India (MCI) will have an active part in the law.

The MCI would define and issue procedures for restorative specialists in the matter of withholding or pulling back the therapeutic treatment to a skilled or a clumsy patient experiencing an ailment that is terminal and can’t be dealt with.


The Commission has given the following recommendations.

  1. The first thing which is to be declared is that each ‘competent patient’, who has been suffering from deadly illness has a right to refuse any medical treatment or the beginning or continuance of such a treatment that has already been initiated. If such an informed decision is endorsed by the competent patient, it is compulsory for the doctor. Consequently, the doctor must be content that a competent patient makes the decision and it is an informed decision.
    Such informed decision must be the one taken by a competent patient autonomously. It must also be cleared that the doctor, notwithstanding the concealment or withdrawal of treatment, is eligible to manage palliative care for the incompetent patient if only he is conscious and also to the competent patient who has declined medical treatment.
  2. It proposed to provide that the doctor shall not be entitled to withhold or withdraw treatment except in a case where he has gained opinion of a body of three skilled medical practitioners from a panel prepared by an Authority of High Status. It also proposed another significant caution, namely, that the decision to hold back or withdraw must be grounded on guidelines issued by the Medical Council of  India as to the conditions under which medical treatment in respect of the specific illness or disease, could be withdrawn or withheld.
    In addition, it is recommended that a Register shall be maintained by the doctors who recommend the withholding or withdrawing of the treatment, in the case of competent as well as incompetent patients. The conclusion, as well as the decision-making procedure, must be noted in the Register.


Since euthanasia is such a controversial and subjective concept, all countries treat it differently.

Here is a list of some prominent countries and their stand on euthanasia.


Euthanasia is illegal


Euthanasia legalised as of 2002.


Voluntary active euthanasia, called “physician-assisted dying”, is legal in Canada for all people over the age of 18 who have a terminal illness that has progressed to the point where natural death is “reasonably foreseeable.”


In 2015 euthanasia was made legal.


Active Euthanasia is not legal


In France, although there are prospective laws in favour of euthanasia, there is still no final law in this regard.


In Ireland, it is illegal for a doctor to actively contribute to someone’s death. It is not, however, illegal to remove life support and other treatment should a person (or their next of kin) request it.


In Israel causing the death of another is specifically forbidden, this includes shortening the life of another by euthanasia.


The Japanese government has no official laws on the status of euthanasia and the Supreme Court of Japan has never ruled on the matter. But euthanasia is allowed under special circumstances.


The parliament passed a bill legalizing euthanasia on 20 February 2008.

United Kingdom

Euthanasia is illegal.

United States

Active euthanasia is absolutely prohibited but passive euthanasia is allowed in some states.


Here passive euthanasia is legal whereas active euthanasia is not.


Euthanasia in all its forms is illegal.


The weapons of solution for battling torment and reducing excruciating enduring have expanded past any desire. There is, indeed, no place for excruciating agony in current prescription. In the event that individuals kick the bucket in torment, it is on account of qualified therapeutic or nursing care is inaccessible. Help in making birth less demanding is today a matter of schedule, and no youngster appears on the scene without master help. Biting the dust is regularly exceptionally troublesome.

It appears that there should be all around prepared demise assistants among specialists and medical attendants similarly as there are birth partners. Be that as it may, what is required is an insightful direction in the enormous human experience of death, not simply the satisfaction of a pretty much purposeful capital punishment by euthanasia. Much should be possible to coordinate demise into everyone’s presence, to make our takeoff from human culture as characteristic an occasion as our passage.

-Bahnidipa Roy

Content Writer @Legal Bites

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