• IASbaba
  • August 13, 2022
  • 0
Ethics, Governance
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In News: A 49-year-old woman from Bengaluru wants the court to stop her friend, a Noida-based 48-year-old man with a debilitating health condition, from travelling to Europe allegedly to undergo assisted suicide or euthanasia — an option not available in India to a person who is not terminally ill.

  • The man has been suffering from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome since 2014 and is allegedly planning to travel to Switzerland for a physician-assisted suicide.
  • In 2018, the Supreme Court had delivered a landmark ruling in Aruna Shanbaug case that made passive euthanasia legal for terminally ill individuals, allowing them to decline the use of life support measures, and letting families of those in incurable coma to withdraw such measures.
  • While Section 309 of IPC criminalises attempted suicide, the Mental Healthcare Act Section 115(1) states that “any person who attempts to commit suicide shall be presumed, unless proved otherwise, to have severe stress and shall not be tried and punished under the said Code.”
  • Many countries like Switzerland, Singapore, have come under criticism for promoting “suicide tourism”.


  • The term Euthanasia comes from two Ancient Greek words ‘Eu’ means ‘Good’, and ‘thantos’ means ‘death’, so Euthanasia means good death.
  • Mercy Killing also known as Euthanasia is an act of providing painless death to a suffering individual who wouldn’t survive if medical facilities are removed from their help.
  • Two types: Euthanasia can be also divided into two types according to means of death.
  • Active Euthanasia: It is also known as ‘Positive Euthanasia’ or ‘Aggressive Euthanasia’.
  • It refers to causing intentional death of a human being by direct intervention.
  • Active euthanasia is usually a quicker means of causing death and all forms of active euthanasia are illegal.
  • For example, by giving lethal doses of a drug or by giving a lethal injection.
  • Passive Euthanasia: It is also known as ‘Negative Euthanasia’ or ‘Non-Aggressive Euthanasia’.
  • It is intentionally causing death by not providing essential, necessary and ordinary care or food and water.
  • It implies discontinuing, withdrawing or removing artificial life support systems.
  • Passive euthanasia is usually slower and more uncomfortable than active.

Indian Scenario

  • As of now, only passive Euthanasia is allowed in India by the Supreme Court.


Medical Ethics:

  • Medical ethics call for nursing, caregiving and healing and not ending the life of the patient.
  • In the present time, medical science is advancing at a great pace making even the most incurable diseases curable today.
  • Thus, instead of encouraging a patient to end his life, the medical practitioners have to encourage the patients to lead their painful life with strength.

Moral Wrong:

  • Taking a life is morally and ethically wrong. The value of life can never be undermined.

Vulnerable will become more prone to it:

  • Groups that represent disabled people are against the legalisation of euthanasia on the ground that such groups of vulnerable people would feel obliged to opt for euthanasia as they may see themselves as a burden to society.

Suicide v/s Euthanasia:

  • When suicide is not allowed then euthanasia should also not be allowed.
  • A person commits suicide when he goes into a state of depression and has no hope from the life.
  • Similar is the situation when a person asks for euthanasia.
  • But such a tendency can be lessened by proper care of such patients and showing hope in them.


End of Pain:

  • Euthanasia provides a way to relieve the intolerably extreme pain and suffering of an individual.
  • It relieves the terminally ill people from a lingering death.

Respecting Person’s Choice:

  • The essence of human life is to live a dignified life and to force the person to live in an undignified way is against the person’s choice.
  • Thus, it expresses the choice of a person which is a fundamental principle.

Treatment for others:

  • In many developing and underdeveloped countries like India, there is a lack of funds. There is a shortage of hospital space.
  • So, the energy of doctors and hospital beds can be used for those people whose life can be saved instead of continuing the life of those who want to die.

Dignified Death:

  • Article 21 of the Indian Constitution clearly provides for living with dignity.
  • A person has a right to live a life with at least minimum dignity and if that standard is falling below that minimum level then a person should be given a right to end his life.

Addressing Mental Agony:

  • The motive behind this is to help rather than harm. It not only relieves the unbearable pain of a patient but also relieves the relatives of a patient from the mental agony.

 Way Forward

  • Palliative care – Control over the manner and timing of a person’s death has not been and should not be a goal of medicine.
  • India needs improved access to high-quality healthcare for the terminally ill so that they go in peace, whenever they do.
  • This is referred to as palliative care right from the time an illness is diagnosed till the end of life.
  • Moral Support from family and friends makes the patient confident to fight the illness.
  • Passage of Medical Treatment of Terminally-ill Patients Bill, 2016 to regulate passive euthanasia.

Source: Indian Express

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