" is derived from the Greek words "Eu
" means good or
willing and "Thantos
" means death for it literally translates to "The
." The purposely ending a person's life to relieve their grief or
If defined medically, euthanasia is often referred to as "Mercy killing".It is
the act of taking a person's life who has a terminal illness or an incurable
condition either by giving a lethal injection or by turning off the patient's
life support and allowing them to pass away.
Types of Euthanasia:
- Active Euthanasia
refers to a doctor's purposeful action, typically the delivery of a lethal
dose to end a patient's life who is suffering from an incurable or terminal
- Passive Euthanasia
refers to Withholding or discontinuing life-sustaining care is referred to
as passive euthanasia.
Various forms of euthanasia based on consent
Voluntary Euthanasia In which the patient gives his or her permission to end the
When there is no hope of recovery�that is, when the person who is killed made no
request and provided no consent because he is unable to express his wishes while
when the person who is killed made an express wish not to be killed.
Difference between Suicide and Euthanasia
Suicide is the deliberate self-infliction of harm with the intent to die. It is
the voluntarily action in which the main individual participates.
Euthanasia it is the act of killing a person who wishes to die because they have
a sickness that cant be cured .A third person actively or passively aids or
abets the killing of another person.
Legal Position of Euthanasia in India
In the landmark case Maneka Gandhi v/s Union of India
interpretation of Article 21 of The Indian Constitution which says Right to Life
and Personal Liberty says "No Person shall be deprived of his life or personal
Liberty except according to procedure established by law". The term "right to
life" refers to the ability to lead a purposeful, full, and respectable life.
Every human being is naturally endowed with the right to life.
But the question arises is whether we also have a basic "Right to Die" in
addition to the Right to Life (Article 21). The right of a person to be free
from all restrictions and encroachments on his person, whether they are directly
enforced or subtly brought about by deliberate actions, is known as personal
liberty under the Indian constitution. This fundamental right imposes a duty on
the state to provide citizens and noncitizens alike with a good standard of
living, a means of subsistence, liberty, and a life that is worthy of respect.
Right to Die means a person's to die essentially means that they have the
freedom to voluntarily end their lives.
In the case of State of Maharashtra v/s Maruti Sripati Dupal
case was filed to include "Right to Die " in the Fundamental Rights.. The Indian
Penal Code's Section 309 , which dealt with penalty for suicide attempts, was
declared unconstitutional by the Bombay High Court. The Bombay High Court held
that the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 includes Right to Die.
The Supreme Court rendered a similar decision in the case of P Rathinam v. Union
of India in 1994, and the Supreme Court's Division Bench upheld Maruti Sripati
Dubal's ruling that Article 21's right to life also includes the Right to die.
It also ruled that Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which addresses
"Attempts to Suicide," is unconstitutional.
This issue was raised again before the constitution in the year 1996 in the case
Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab
, a case in which the 5 judge Constitutional
Bench of the Supreme Court overruled P. Ratnam's case and held that the right to
life under Article 21 of the Constitution does not include the right to die or
the right to be killed and Additionally, it was decided that there is no reason
to believe that Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code is unconstitutional.
Aruna Shanbhaug Case
On Nov 27 , 1973, a sweeper sodomised and strangled Aruna and the deprivation of
oxygen has left her in a vegetative state ever since . She was maintained alive
by a feeding tube for the nxt 40 years of her life. On behalf of Aruna her
Activist friend Pinki Virani filed a petition claimed "Continued existence of
Aruna violates her Right to Live in Dignity
". The Supreme Court discussed
Euthanasia extensively and approved "Passive Euthanasia", despite the fact that
it did not let Ms.Shanbaug's medical treatment to be discontinued.
Invoking the "Parens Patriae
" principle , which means "Parent of the Nation"
where the court can intervene and act as a guardian, it was concluded that HC is
the final Arbiter of what is best for the patient.