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The term Euthanasia is derived from the Greek word Euthanatos which means easy death. The word can also be split into Eu which means good and thanasia means killing.

It is also known as Mercy killing or we can say assisted suicide.

The Painless death of a person who is suffering from a severe disease or medical condition from where his chance of recovering is almost impossible.

Euthanasia

What are the different types of Euthanasia?

Euthanasia is classified into 5 parts:-

  1. Passive Euthanasia
  2. Active Euthanasia
  3. Voluntary Euthanasia
  4. Non-voluntary Euthanasia
  5. Involuntary Euthanasia

Passive Euthanasia– Passive euthanasia means intentionally letting a patient die by removing the medication machines (ventilators, feeding and oxygen tube, etc.) by which he/she is alive.

Active Euthanasia– Active euthanasia means where a patient is killed by injecting him with the lethal drug in his/her body.

Voluntary Euthanasia– means where we ask for consent from the patient whether he/she wants to live, or want to end his life because of a continued unimproved condition in his health.

Non-voluntary Euthanasia– means where we do not ask for consent from the patient whether he/she wants to live or end his life even though the patient was there in the state of giving consent. for.eg child euthanasia.

Involuntary Euthanasia– means where we give euthanasia to the patient against his wishes due to the fact that he/she was not there in the state to speak for himself. It happens sometimes that relatives, courts and doctors give consent for a patient for euthanasia but due to the fact that patient was not able to speak but actually wanted to live alive for the time being.

NOTE– There is one more type of euthanasia, called

PHYSICAL ASSISTED SUICIDE– In this, the doctor keeps the lethal injection or medicine for the patient in his room, so that he/she take it by himself after making the decision.
This type of Euthanasia is used when a patient does not want to die at the hands of the other and also the medical practitioner does not want to give death by his hand to the other.

Why do people or patients want Euthanasia?

One of the major reasons what comes to our mind is a patient who is suffering from unbearable pain in his life.

But the real fact is only one-third of people request euthanasia because of unbearable pain.

Euthanasia is also asked by the patients who believe that their quality of life is finished and for every day to day activity he wants medical assistance. For example, people suffering from paralysis, coma, nausea, etc.

There are other factors too that makes patient demand euthanasia. Psychological and Economic factors.

Psychological factors like being the loss of dignity or enthusiastic nature in life, feeling of depression, and loss of control of biological things. Economic factors like one are financially deprived of money for the medication.

Why Euthanasia is a great subject of debate in the world?

In a developing and developed country, the concept of Euthanasia is of great debate because every professional and person have a different opinion about it.

The key areas from where the debate starts are religious, ethical, and practical considerations.

According to the religious, the question arises whether it is religiously correct for a person to end someone’s life? Who has permitted them to do the same?

Ethically also there are various angles and questions as to whether euthanasia is ethically correct or not.

One of the prominent questions is, Is it right to end one’s life? and under what situation euthanasia is justified? Is there any difference between killing and letting a person die?

So, because of these questions, the debate is so heated and no proper solution for the same is being recognised.

What is the situation of Euthanasia in India?

India is a developing country and the concept of euthanasia is of great debate until the current day. But finally, the supreme court in 2011 in a landmark judgement of the Aruna Shanbaug case, made passive Euthanasia legally valid in the eyes of law.

Aruna Shanbaug Case v/s Union of India.

In this case, a lady was working as a nurse in KEM Hospital, in Mumbai, Maharashtra, and was sexually assaulted by a person who was also working in the same hospital, due to which she got into a paralysed state.

The nurse remained in the paralysed state for 48 years and was taken care of by the nurses of the hospital. For this, an NGO named “Common Cause” filed a petition asking for euthanasia for the victim.

But the staff of the hospital went against it said that for 45 years we are taking care of her and will further take care until natural death.

The court agreed upon the same but in his judgement, the court legalised the concept of Passive Euthanasia on 7th March 2011 in India.

It was also directed by the court that the decision for the withdrawal of the treatment will be taken by the parents, spouses, or other close friends.

The decision required approval from the High Court of the same state.

But with passing time, the different perspective we’re able to see in a different case and for the same, the law that was made in the case did not satisfy with the prevailing situation.

So finally in 2014, a constitution bench of 5 judges, headed by Dipak Misra was appointed to look over the same case and make the necessary changes in the current law.

Finally in COMMON CAUSE vs UNION OF INDIA, March 2018, this bench of 5 judges adds the right to refuse treatment and die with dignity in the fundamental right of right to life and dignity which is covered under article-21 of the Indian constitution.

What is the procedure for the permission of Euthanasia?

A living will- A living will is similar to a property will of a person, which is made by him to make an advance directive to the person mentioned in the will to withdraw his/her medical treatment in accordance with the will.

Formalities and Conditions If the living will is made before:

– The person who makes the will should have the proper knowledge and the will be made without any coercion.

– The will or the documents should be verified before a Judicial magistrate, along with 2 witnesses.

-The will should clearly say the time as to when medical treatment is to withdraw.

– The will should clearly mention the name of the person who will give consent to withdrawn the medical treatment of the patient.

Formalities and Conditions for Euthanasia if living is not by the patient:

– The Doctors of the hospitals should inform the hospital authorities, and the guardian of the patient and should discuss the same.

–The family or the guardian should be given time to think for the same and should be allowed to consent to other doctors which he/she knows better, and after it, he/she must give in writing for euthanasia to the respective hospital.

– The hospital should inform the District Magistrate for the same, and he shall verify the things by surveying along with District Doctors and 3 other of the same field, each having the experience of 15-20 years.

– After the verification, a report of the survey should be given to the magistrate and the family member for the final signature.

– And before the final decision magistrate should verify on his own and should be making a final discussion with the family member or with the guardian for the same.

Conclusion

In last, I would like to conclude with this line that there are many laws in the country but if they are violated they result in many big problems.

The law of euthanasia is also similar to it. if is used to cure the pain of the patient it is a good thing but if not it will amount to the murder of a person behind the face of medical treatment, for which he/she can be charged with the offence of murder under Section-302 of the IPC.

So, laws should be followed wisely.

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Hi everyone, my name is Harpreet Randhawa, a law student who believes in sharing my opinions and spreading awareness on our law system. I hope you find my writing crisp and relevant.

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