New Delhi, July 16 : The Supreme Court today issued notices to all states seeking their responses over the issue of passive euthanasia. “Today, the issue of the validity of what is called a living will and related to that the issue of euthanasia was heard by a constitution bench of the Supreme Court, and they have issued a notice to all the states to respond to this issue, and eight weeks after that, the case will brought to the constitutional bench of the Supreme Court,” lawyer Prashant Bhushan told the media here.
Explaining the entire case of living will, Bhushan said, “The issue is whether a person who has been afflicted by an illness, by which he has been rendered unconscious and there is no hope according to the medical opinion of his revival, he is suffering of a terminal illness, or is in a permanent vegetative state, whether he has right to give an advanced directive or leave a will that he should not be kept alive by ventilators or by artificial means and whether the doctors and other people are bound to follow his wishes. Related to that is also the question of euthanasia that if he has not expressed any such will, whether his near relatives, etc can direct the hospital to withdraw his life support systems in this kind of situation.”
Recalling the case of Aruna Shanbaug, he added, “This issue of passive euthanasia was considered by the Supreme Court in Aruna Shanbaug’s case a few years ago and a two judge bench of the Supreme Court had held that passive Euthanasia is perfectly legal, which means that like Aruna Shanbaug who was in a permanent vegetative state, her next of kin or her guardians had the right to direct the hospital and the doctors to withdraw her life support systems.”