Mumbai couple seeking active euthanasia say SC verdict ‘irrelevant’ to them
The elderly couple had written to President Ram Nath Kovind last year asking for permission to end their life via “doctor-assisted death”, or active euthanasia.Updated: Mar 10, 2018 07:30 IST
A Mumbai couple that had sought active euthanasia in a letter to the President said on Friday that the Supreme Court’s verdict on living wills is “irrelevant” to them as they do not have any pre-existing illness.
Retired government employee Narayan Lavate, 87, and his wife Iravati,79, a retired school principal, had written to President Ram Nath Kovind on December 21 last year asking for permission to end their life via “doctor-assisted death”, or active euthanasia.
The letter said they want to end their lives because “it is unfair to compel them (us) to wait till some serious ailment/deformity befalls them (us).” It added, “Both the petitioners are in reasonably good health, not afflicted by any serious ailment as on the date of this petition.” The President’s office had responded by asking for some time to decide on the issue.
While active euthanasia, or assisted death, is the administration of medication to end a life, passive euthanasia refers to the withdrawal of life support or medical treatment in cases where a person has slipped into a permanent vegetative state, or has a terminal illness with no hope of cure.
On Friday, the husband told HT, “We don’t want to create a living will, as it will be executed only if we fall ill. Our case is different. We are healthy at present, but why should we wait for a terminally illness to strike?”
In an interview to Hindustan Times in January, they said the fear of falling terminally ill and of not being able to “contribute to the society” had pushed them to write to the President to seek permission for doctor-assisted death.
The Lavates do not have any children. In January this year, Iravati had told HT, “ Even in our old age, we don’t want others to be responsible for taking care of us.”
When the President’s office did not respond to their December 2017 letter, the Lavates wrote a second letter on March 1. They are awaiting a response from Rashtrapati Bhavan.