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  • 15 August, 2022

  • 7 Min Read

All About Euthanasia

All About Euthanasia

Recently, a Bengaluru lady went to the Delhi High Court to stop a friend's flight to Europe for euthanasia.


A petition submitted to the court claims that the man has had chronic fatigue syndrome since 2014 and that he intends to fly to Switzerland for euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide, both of which are not legal for non-terminally ill people in India.

"Complex, incapacitating, long-term neuroinflammatory disease" describes chronic fatigue syndrome.

Case of Aruna Shanbaug: The Supreme Court of India (SC) addressed the debate over euthanasia, and in 2018 it issued a ruling that made the right to a dignified death a component of the right to life under Article 21.

Only passive euthanasia is currently permitted in India by the Supreme Court.

About Euthanasia

Ancient Greek words: "Eu" for "good" and "thantos" for "death."

Euthanasia can be classified into two categories based on the method of dying:

Positive Euthanasia or Aggressive Euthanasia:

  • Alludes to directly interfering with another person's life with the purpose to kill them. It is a direct action taken to put an end to a pointless life and existence.
  • For instance, by administering fatal dosages of a medicine or a lethal injection. Active euthanasia is typically a quicker way to bring about death, and all forms are prohibited.

Negative or non-aggressive euthanasia:

  • It is passive euthanasia. Failing to provide basic, routine care, food, and drink is purposefully causing death.
  • It involves turning off, uninstalling, or taking away artificial life support systems.
  • In general, passive euthanasia is slower and more uncomfortable than aggressive euthanasia.
  • Euthanasia is lawful in the majority of voluntary, passive, and non-voluntary, passive situations.

Rights, Cases & Legality in India

  • State of Maharashtra v. Maruti Shripati Dubal: Section 309 was invalidated and the right to life includes the freedom to die. In the matter of P. Rathinam v. Union of India, upheld by the SC.
  • Gian Kaur v. the State of Punjab: Contravened to earlier positions; no legal euthanasia.
  • Section 306 of the IPC outlines the penalties for assisting and abetting suicide.
  • Distinguished euthanasia from suicide in Naresh Maratra Sakhee v. Union of India.

Why Euthanasia?

  • End of Suffering: Euthanasia offers a solution to end a person's unbearably intense suffering. It spares those who are close to death from a protracted demise.
  • Respecting Person's Choice: The goal of human life is to live a dignified life, and it is against the person's choice to make them live in an undignified manner. As a result, it expresses a person's decision, which is a key value.
  • Providing care for others There is a paucity of money in many emerging and impoverished nations, including India. Hospital space is in short supply. Therefore, rather than sustaining the lives of individuals who desire to die, the energy of doctors and hospital beds might be used for those whose lives can be preserved.
  • Death with Dignity: Article 21 of the Indian Constitution expressly guarantees the right to a dignified life. A person has the right to live with at least the bare minimum of dignity, and if that standard is not being met, that person should be granted the option to end his life.
  • Addressing Mental Anguish: The intention is to assist rather than cause harm. It not only soothes the patient's excruciating pain but also spares the patient's loved ones from suffering psychologically.


  • Medical ethics: Medical ethics prohibit patient killing and promote nursing, caregiving, and healing. Even the most fatal diseases are now treatable because of the rapid advancement of medical technology. Therefore, medical professionals must encourage patients to live their difficult lives with strength rather than urging them to end their lives.
  • Moral Mistake: Morally and ethically, taking a life is wrong. Life has intrinsic value that cannot be discounted.
  • Groups who advocate for disabled people are opposed to the legalization of euthanasia on the grounds that such vulnerable populations may feel compelled to choose euthanasia because they may view themselves as a burden to society. Vulnerable will become more susceptible to it.
  • Euthanasia vs. Suicide: If euthanasia is prohibited, then suicide should be as well. When a person enters a depressive mood and loses all hope in life, they commit suicide. The situation when someone requests euthanasia is comparable. But by taking good care of these patients and having hope for them, this inclination might be diminished.
  • X-Factor: Miracles do happen in our society, especially when it involves life and death; there are cases of people emerging from comas years after they were placed there, and we must never forget that hope is the foundation of all human existence.

Global Status

  • England: Illegal and subject to a maximum sentence of life in prison.
  • Northern Territory in Australia was the first to legalize it in 1996. Most states have crime.
  • Albania: Legalized in 1999 with family members' approval.
  • 2002 saw legalization in Belgium.
  • The Netherlands was the first country in the world to allow assisted suicide and euthanasia in 2002.
  • Only passive euthanasia is permitted in Canada (The right to refuse life-sustaining treatments).

In the US, assisted suicide is lawful in Oregon and California but euthanasia is prohibited nationwide.

Way forward

Such a propensity should be lessened by giving sufficient care and spreading optimism.

To relieve patients' suffering and loved ones' suffering is sometimes reasonable.

Active voluntary euthanasia must be avoided since it can make murder simple.

Also, Read - NAMASTE Project for manual scavengers

Source: The Indian Express

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