News Analysis   /   Euthanasia

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Published on: January 19, 2022

Why the right to die is still a point of contention around the world?

Source: The Indian Express


Earlier this month, a man became the first person in Colombia to be killed without first having to be diagnosed with a terminal condition, according to official records.

Because of his decision to die, the debate over euthanasia and its legal applicability in many jurisdictions has re-ignited around the world.


When a suffering individual would not live if medical facilities were removed from their care, mercy killing, also known as euthanasia, is performed, it is known as euthanasia.

The Case of Aruna Shanbaug: The case was heard by the Supreme Court (SC), and the final verdict was delivered in the year 2018, including the Right to Die with Dignity into the Right to Life under Article 21.

As of right now, the Supreme Court of India has only permitted passive Euthanasia in the country.



Words in Greek: As a result of two Ancient Greek terms, "Euthanasia" means "good death," and "thantos" means "death." Thus, "Euthanasia" literally translates as "good death."

There are two kinds: Euthanasia may also be classified into two categories based on the method of death used.

Active Euthanasia (also known as a lethal injection): It is referred to as 'Positive Euthanasia' or 'Aggressive Euthanasia' in certain circles. It is the deliberate infliction of death on a human person through the use of direct involvement. It is a deliberate action taken in order to put an end to a pointless life and a pointless existence.

For example, administering fatal dosages of medicine or administering a lethal injection are both options. Although active euthanasia is typically a more expedient method of bringing about death, it is nonetheless prohibited in all forms in most jurisdictions.

Passive Euthanasia is sometimes referred to as 'Negative Euthanasia' or 'Non-Aggressive Euthanasia,' depending on who you ask. It is deliberately causing death by failing to provide vital, necessary, and routine medical treatment, as well as food and drink.

It refers to the process of turning off, withdrawing, or eliminating artificial life support systems.

Passive euthanasia is typically more painful and time-consuming than aggressive euthanasia. Most kinds of voluntary, passive euthanasia, as well as some instances of non-voluntary, passive euthanasia, are lawful in most jurisdictions.

India's legal rights, cases, and other legal provisions are outlined here.

Article 21 of the Constitution, which contains the freedom to die or not, was first considered in the case of State of Maharashtra v. Maruti Shripati Dubai.

The Bombay High Court ruled in this case that the "right to life" included the "right to die," and Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code was knocked down.

In this particular instance, the court said unequivocally that the right to die is not unnatural; rather, it is exceptional and atypical. In addition, the court noted a variety of circumstances in which a person could choose to end his or her life.

In the case of P. Rathinam v. Union of India, the Supreme Court of India affirmed this decision. In the case of Gian Kaur v. the State of Punjab, on the other hand, a five-judge panel of the Supreme Court has ruled that the "right to life" guaranteed by Article 21 of the Constitution does not encompass the "right to die," as previously stated.

In this particular instance, the court said unequivocally that Article 21 solely protects the right to life and personal liberty, and that the right to die cannot be included in this provision. Euthanasia is not allowed in India, as it is in practically every other country in the world.

Every act of assisting or abetting the conduct of suicide is punishable under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (I.P.C).

In the case of Naresh Maratra Sakhee vs Union of India, Justice Lodha observed that "suicide by its nature is an act of self-killing or self-destruction, an act of terminating one's own act and without the aid or assistance of any other human agency." Euthanasia, on the other hand, "is an act of terminating one's own act and without the aid or assistance of any other human agency."

Mercy killing is a kind of homicide, regardless of the conditions under which it occurs or is practiced. It cannot be considered an offense unless it is explicitly approved. The Indian Penal Code goes on to say that "abetting homicide, as well as abetment of suicide, is punishable."


Medical Ethics: Medical ethics emphasise the importance of nursing, caregiving, and healing, rather than the termination of a patient's life. Today, medical technology is progressing at an incredible rate, with even the most terminal ailments now being cured through modern medicine. As a result, rather of pushing a patient to take his or her own life, medical professionals must urge them to face their difficult lives with bravery.

Wrong on a moral level: Taking a life is immoral and unethical on both moral and ethical grounds. The importance of human life can never be overstated.

Vulnerable individuals will grow more susceptible to it: The legalisation of euthanasia is opposed by organisations that advocate for handicapped persons on the grounds that such groups of vulnerable individuals would feel compelled to choose euthanasia because they would perceive themselves as a burden to society.

Comparison of Suicide and Euthanasia: If suicide is not permissible, then euthanasia should not be permitted either. Someone commits suicide when he or she falls into a deep despair and believes that there is no hope for the future. When a person requests euthanasia, the scenario is similar to that described above. However, by providing good care to such patients and instilling confidence in them, such a propensity can be mitigated.

X-Factor: Miracles do happen in our society especially when it is a matter of life and death, there are examples of patients coming out of coma after years and we should not forget human life is all about hope.


Putting an End to Suffering: Euthanasia is a procedure that allows a person who is experiencing unbearably severe pain and suffering to end their life. It saves the lives of terminally sick individuals by preventing them from dying in their sleep.

Individual Choice: The core of human existence is to live a dignified life, and forcing someone to live in an undignified manner goes against the person's will. So it represents the decision of a person, which is a basic principle in the world of business.

Treatment for those who are not afflicted: Many emerging and impoverished nations, such as India, are suffering from a scarcity of resources. There is a scarcity of available hospital space. As a result, the energy of physicians and hospital beds may be directed toward saving the lives of those who wish to die rather than continuing the lives of those who wish to die.

Death with Dignity: Article 21 of the Indian Constitution expressly allows for the right to die with dignity. A person has the right to spend his or her life with at least the bare minimum of dignity, and if that standard is slipping below that bare minimum, that person should be granted the choice to terminate his or her life.

Taking Care of Mental Anguish: The goal here is to help rather than damage those who are suffering. It not only soothes the severe pain of a patient, but it also relieves the emotional torment experienced by the patient's family members as well.

The Best Way Forward:

For patients and grieving family members, achieving peace with God and pain control are practically similar in terms of necessity and urgency.

In order to alleviate the suffering of the patient's family, it may be necessary to discontinue useless therapy that has no realistic probability of doing any benefit - other than preventing the patient from dying -

Perpetrators can mask their actions as active voluntary euthanasia if they enable voluntary euthanasia to take place. This makes it simpler for them to commit murder. This must be avoided at all costs.

Instead of focusing on the negative aspects of things, we should consider the positive aspects.

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