The idea of the right to die relates to the notion that a person has the choice to end their life if they are faced with a terminal illness, excruciating pain, or any other situation when their quality of life is significantly diminished. Euthanasia and assisted suicide are two practices where a person asks for help from a doctor or a loved one to end their life in a peaceful and honorable way. These practices are frequently linked to the right to die.
There are many different opinions on euthanasia, however in some nations, specific forms of the practice are allowed. The five categories of euthanasia are as follows:
According to Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which also makes suicide attempts illegal, euthanasia is prohibited in India. However, the Indian Supreme Court has declared the right to die with dignity to be a basic freedom protected by the Indian Constitution's guarantees of life and personal freedom.
The Right to Die has been a divisive subject in India, with opposing viewpoints from various elements of society. On the one hand, proponents believe that individuals should have the freedom to choose when to end their suffering, while opponents claim that such a power violates the dignity of life and can be readily misused.
However, in 2011, the Indian Supreme Court made passive euthanasia acceptable under certain circumstances. Withholding medical care or other steps that could artificially extend a person's life is referred to as passive euthanasia. The court ruled that a person can write a "living will" or advance directive outlining their decision to refuse medical care should they develop a terminal illness or go into a vegetative condition.
In addition, the Supreme Court created rules to control the passive euthanasia procedure, and a medical board is appointed to assess the patient's health and determine whether delaying treatment is in their best interests. The court also ruled that, in cases when the patient is unable to make such a decision, a close relative or legal guardian should make the choice to refuse treatment.
The "Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill," which sought to legalise both passive and active euthanasia, was introduced in the Indian parliament in 2018. The legislation was later withdrawn due to resistance.
The "right to die" can be defended in a variety of situations. Of course, the phrase might allude to a desire to remove life-supporting technology. Cruzan v. Director, Missouri Department of Health appears to have recognized the interest in doing so as having presumed constitutional status in the sense that the state must present a compelling argument for encroaching upon that interest. In any event, several states permit their residents to refuse medical care.
An additional point by way of clarification: Medical practice will work in the shadow of the law and under the impact of the law without simply following the law. Therefore, a legal system without a real or publicly acknowledged "right to die" may possibly provide room for medical decisions regarding whether to prolong life or hasten death in a quiet, covert manner, typically made in close consultation with the patient and family members.
For instance, a doctor might prescribe drugs that hasten death, permit a patient to refuse life-sustaining medications or even food and drink, or refrain from taking "extraordinary" measures. The border that appears to separate these actions from physician-assisted suicide is clearly breached in practice. It is conceivable that patients frequently exercise an unofficial "right to die" despite the fact that physician-assisted suicide is against the law.
A number of important rulings by the Indian Supreme Court serve as the foundation for the Right to Die's legal protections in India.
The following are the main legal regulations that govern India's Right to Die:
The Supreme Court has, however, also ruled that active euthanasia, in which a third party intervenes to end the life of the person, is unlawful and punishable in India. According to the court, such a procedure violates the sanctity of life and is open to abuse.
Overall, India's legal system governing the right to die is complicated and calls for serious study of its legal, moral, and ethical ramifications. Active euthanasia and assisted suicide are still prohibited in India, despite the fact that passive euthanasia has been approved as permissible in some situations. The proposed legislation aims to give the nation's decision-making and end-of-life care a better legal basis.
The Indian Judiciary had fully disregarded euthanasia up until recently. The judiciary has made an effort to include moral and religious principles in its rulings. In India, assisted or active euthanasia is not permitted. If the right to life under article 21 includes the right to die, that was the question the judges had to decide. However, recent judgements have clarified the position with regard to it. An essential component of article 21 is the right to a dignified death, which acknowledges passive euthanasia.