SC asked State governments and UTs to submit responses over Euthanasia

The five-judge Constitutional bench of Supreme Court on 16 July 2014 issued notice to the State governments and Union Territories (UTs)

Jul 18, 2014 15:11 IST
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The five-judge Constitution bench of Supreme Court on 16 July 2014 issued notice to the State governments and Union Territories (UTs) to submit their responses over legalising passive euthanasia.  State Government and UTs have to submit their responses to the notice till the 17 September 2014.

The five-judge Constitution bench consisted of Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha, and Justice J.S. Khehar, J. Chelameswar, A.K. Sikri and Rohinton F. Nariman.

Main highlights of the Notice issued by SC Bench

  • The SC bench reasoned that States and UTs must also be heard because the issue not only involves the Constitutionality of euthanasia but also involves morality, religion and medical science.
  • It further raised the question that what safeguards should be laid down so as to prevent the misuse of euthanasia and asked the petitioners to cite the least painful method to bring life to an end in light of the discussion going around the world on legalizing euthanasia.
  • However, it dismissed the contention of Attorney General Mukul Rohtagi that euthanasia statute can be misused and hence it cannot be legalised. The bench said that misuse of the statute cannot be the ground for not legalizing euthanasia.
  • In order to look into the issue, the SC Constitution bench appointed senior lawyer and former Solicitor General T R Andhyarujina as amicus curiae to assist it.

The notice was issued by the SC bench on a PIL filed by Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) Common Cause. In the PIL Common Cause had reasoned that, if there is medical expert opinion that a person treatment is beyond from being curable has reached the point of no return, then the person should be given the right to refuse the treatment and die, if the person gives a living will.

However, the Attorney General said this was a matter to be considered by the legislature, because it raised multiple issues, aside from coming with the possibility of misuse.


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