Right To Die: A Brief Analysis
Right to life is a basic right guaranteed to every citizen of India. In India
the constitutional article 21 deals with it, as it states that no person shall
be deprived of his life or personal liberty except the procedure established by
Regardless of caste, creed, or gender, this article guarantees everyone in India
the right to life and personal freedom. It guarantees that no one's life or
personal freedom can be taken away from them unless the legal process is
followed. This means that any restriction on a person's right to life or
personal freedom must be legal and follow a fair, just, and reasonable
Article 21 includes a right to a "dignified life," which includes the right to
appropriate food, shelter, and healthcare as well as the right to be treated
with respect and dignity throughout one's life.
The Indian judiciary has given broad interpretation to Article 21 and determined
that it covers a number of additional rights, including the right to a clean and
healthy environment, the right to education, and the right to privacy. The
judiciary has further ruled that no circumstance, not even an emergency or one
ostensibly related to national security, can suspend the person's right to life
and personal freedom.
Right To DieThe right to self-determination, commonly referred to as the right to die,
refers to a person's ability to decide how they will die. This covers the
freedom to reject life-sustaining medical care as well as the choice to end
one's life through euthanasia or assisted suicide.
The right to die is a hotly debated subject that brings up numerous ethical,
legal, and religious difficulties. Some contend that everyone has the right to
choose how and when they face death, particularly in situations where they are
facing a terminal illness or excruciating suffering and some consider it a
violation of people's autonomy and dignity to deny them this right.
A common man generally thinks of dying when the pain from which the person is
suffering is unbearable and if he dies voluntarily then it is termed as
euthanasia, it is the practice of killing anyone by his own will that if the
person is suffering from a diseases which cannot be cured but in India it is
only limited to those killing which are done for the ill persons and it is given
to the family to decide that the life support will be removed or not.
As euthanasia is a way to end a painful life, the family members of the patients
are also relief from getting physical mental and economical stress. In
euthanasia the patients also have a right to refuse medical treatment but if a
doctor treats a patient against his express wishes, he can be charged with
assault and the individual has the freedom to exercise his right to die. The
constitution guarantees the fundamental rights and freedoms where a positive
right includes a negative right.
For instance, freedom of speech includes within it freedom not to speak, etc.
but several are also against this to legalize the euthanasia they give the
arguments as if Euthanasia will be allowed, it will diminish human dignity and
violate the idea of the sanctity of life. It can serve as a "cover for murder"
and makes sick and disabled persons more vulnerable than the general population.
The issue of right to die was first raised in Bombay High court in the case of
Maruti Sripati Dubal (1987), in this case the Bombay high court stuck down
section 309 of IPC which is for the punishment attempt to commit suicide and
held it unconstitutional the high court held that right to die is included under
right to life under article 21 of the Indian constitution. A similar type of
judgment was given in the case of P Rathinam v. Union of India (1994) by the
But in the case of Gian Kaur v state of Punjab (1996), the Supreme court
overruled the judgment made in P Rathinam v. Union of India, it held that active
and passive euthanasia is not lawful in India under Article 21 of the
Constitution and held section 309 of IPC as constitutionally valid.
But later a landmark judgment that addressed euthanasia and the right to life
was Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India. In this case, Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug,
worked as a nurse at King Edward Memorial Hospital in Parel, Bombay. In the
evening of November 27, 1973, a hospital worker attacked her and grabbed her by
the neck with a dog chain. She was also the target of the sweeper's attempted
rape, but when he noticed she was menstruating, he anally raped her instead. To
prevent her from moving or wreaking any damage, he tightened the chain around
A cleaner found her motionless, bloody corpse on the floor the following
morning. It's been 36 years since the aforementioned incident. She had been
subsisting on mashed food and was unable to move her hands or legs. It was
claimed that she had no hope of improving and was entirely dependent on the KEM
Hospital in Mumbai.
An appeal under Article 32 of the constitution was then filed by journalist and
activist Pinki Virani, who said there was little possibility of her survival and
recovery. The petition requests that the respondent stop feeding Aruna so that
she can die peacefully
In its ruling, the Supreme Court ruled that euthanasia is illegal in India and
that Article 21 of the Indian Constitution's right to life does not include the
right to death. The court did, however, acknowledge the idea of passive
euthanasia, in which a person's life-sustaining medical care may be withheld or
discontinued under specific circumstances.
The court established guidelines for passive euthanasia cases, which required a
court order and the endorsement of a medical board. The court also acknowledged
the necessity for advance directives, which would enable people to express their
wishes for end-of-life care in the event that they became incapable of
communicating for any reason and become incapacitated.
On the subject of euthanasia and end-of-life care in India, the Aruna Shanbaug
case has sparked intense controversy and discussion. While it did not make
euthanasia legal, it did clarify the conditions that could make it acceptable
and it set safeguards to protect both patient rights and the interests of
As by the development in the passive euthanasia, India is going a step ahead a
advanced society, due to these judgments a large number of vulnerable people who
are suffering from a incurable diseases will be free from all this but the
concern about the misuse is also there that what if the method is used by the
poor people to get around the cost of medication and many more also as the
outcome of this debate is still uncertain.
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