Plea in Delhi HC to prevent man from travelling to Switzerland for euthanasia

Published on Aug 12, 2022 02:31 PM IST

In her plea, the 49-year-old petitioner has sought the court’s directions to the government against granting “emigration clearance” to her friend

Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s. (HT PHOTO)
Assisted suicide has been legal in Switzerland since the 1940s. (HT PHOTO)

A woman has moved the Delhi high court to prevent her friend, who is in his 40s and suffering from a debilitating inflammatory disease, from travelling for euthanasia to Switzerland, where assisted suicide has been legal since the 1940s.

In her plea, the 49-year-old petitioner has sought the court’s directions to the government against granting “emigration clearance” to her friend. Suffering from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, the friend is supposed to travel for physician-assisted suicide. Myalgic Encephalomyelitis is a complex, debilitating, long-term neuroinflammatory disease, with the most common symptom being extreme tiredness.

The petitioner said the disease can affect anyone, including children. She cited studies and said it is more common among women in the mid-40s. “It’s also common for people who have chronic fatigue syndrome to also have other health problems at the same time, such as sleep disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, fibromyalgia, depression, or anxiety,” the plea said.

The plea added the patient was under treatment at an earlier stage after diagnosis in 2014 but it could not be continued during the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic. “His symptoms started in 2014 and his condition deteriorated over the past eight years. He is now completely bed bound and just able to walk a few steps inside home.”

The plea said the deteriorating situation forced the patient to think about euthanasia through Dignitas, an organisation in Zurich, which provides physicians for assisted suicide. It added he travelled to Zurich for the first round of psychological evaluation in June.

The petition said the patient does not have any financial constraints for better treatment in India or abroad but he is adamant about his decision to go for euthanasia. The petitioner said he has given false information for the visa both in India and abroad.

The petition also sought the constitution of a medical board to examine his condition and to provide necessary assistance.

Active euthanasia is illegal in India. In 2018, the Supreme Court permitted passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia involves a physician, who actively assists it through an injection of lethal substances to accelerate death. Passive euthanasia means withholding life-saving treatment.

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    Reports from the Delhi High Court and stories on legal developments in the city. Avid mountain lover, cooking and playing with birds 🐦 when not at work

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