Supreme Court reserves judgement on right to ‘living will’
The top court was of the opinion that there should be guidelines for drafting ‘living wills’ and authenticating them.india Updated: Oct 11, 2017 23:16 IST
The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on ‘living will’ — a concept where a person decides in advance whether he/she wants to be kept on life support in case of a terminal illness.
A five-judge constitution bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, was hearing a petition by an NGO seeking that a person suffering from terminal illness should be allowed to execute his/her ‘living will’ indicating that he/she should not be kept on life support system in case there is no hope for cure.
The top court was of the opinion that there should be guidelines for drafting ‘living wills’ and authenticating them. The bench said that advance directive by a person in the form of ‘living will’ may be approved by a magistrate.
The NGO argued that the right to die peacefully was part of right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had said since a patient under coma can’t express his/her wish, law should allow him/her to put it down in writing in advance that he/she should not be tortured. In the absence of a law authorizing doctors to do so, they keep incurable patients on life support, he said.
The top court had in 2011 ruled in favour of passive euthanasia. SC had said life support system can be withdrawn on the recommendation of a panel of doctors, consent of family members and permission of high court.