‘Right to Die’ with dignity a fundamental right, SC allows passive euthanasia
 Source : NewsBharati  Date : 09-Mar-2018

New Delhi, March 9: The Supreme Court has ruled that passive euthanasia is permissible with guidelines in a landmark decision. The order was passed by a 5-judge bench headed by CJI Dipak Misra.

“Human beings have the right to die with dignity,” the apex court declared. Passive euthanasia is practice wherein a terminally ill person in his/her last stage of life with no chance of recovery is allowed to die.


The Constitution Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justices AK Sikri, AM Khanwilkar, DY Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan was delivering its verdict on a PIL filed by NGO Common Cause in 2005.

After extensive hearing during which both the petitioner and the government was heard, the bench had reserved its judgment on October 11.

The Court also laid down guidelines governing execution and enforcement of living wills, as well as the procedure to be followed for passive Euthanasia in case there is no living will/advance directive.

In case there is no living will, family members of the concerned person can approach the High Court under Article 226 for passive euthanasia. Detailed guidelines on how to deal with such plea have also been laid down.

A living will is a document which persons with deteriorating health or the terminally ill can execute in advance, whereby such a person can choose not to remain in a vegetative state with life support system if he/she goes into a state when it will not be possible for them to express their wishes. This document could then be presented to a hospital for appropriate action in the event the executant’s health worsens.

Euthanasia is a practice where a person suffering from a terminal disease can end his/her life. Passive euthanasia is withdrawing treatment necessary for sustaining, while active euthanasia refers to a practice of using lethal substances to end life. A living will is a legal document with person directing steps to be taken when they are incapable of making decisions because of an illness.