The right to Life is the paramount fundamental right guaranteed under the
Constitution of India. When we dig deeper into the various aspects of the right
to life we will configure that all aspects of the right revolve around personal
liberty and life. The right to life also includes the right to dignity in life
and respect. There is an important quote by Queen Rania Al Abdullah - "When
you deprive people of their right to live in dignity, to hope for a better
future, to have control over their lives when you deprive them of that choice
then you expect them to fight for these rights.
This blog holistically looks into the aspect of the right to life in resonance
with the right to death. As we all know the right to life is safeguarded under
The constitution of India but when we compare it with the right to die, it is a
punishable offense under The Penal Code, 1860. A lot of critics objected to
decriminalizing section 309 which is related to suicide and punishing those who
attempt to suicide.
The right to die is not a fundamental right Under Article 21. Manier times it
came before various high courts and The Apex court. It came interestingly under
the watchful eye of the Bombay high court in the State of Maharashtra v.
, where it was contended that the right to life
ensured by Article 21also includes the right to die.
Consider in the event of a sick patient or an individual in PVS that is there
any desire for recuperation to speed up the course of death for diminishing the
time of enduring eventually comprises an option to live with pride. includes a
right to death in furtherance to that honorable high court struck down section
309 of The Indian Penal Code 1860 which is regarding the punishment to a person
attempting suicide declared as unconstitutional.
In this case, a police constable developed a mental illness after a road
accident. He was suffering from various mental depression and instability. One
day he poured kerosene oil on his body and tries to set himself. he was stopped
by police, and after that he was booked under sec 309. It was brought before the
Bombay high court challenging the validity of sec 309.
FurtherAndhra Pradesh high court in ChennaJagdeeshwar v. State of Andhra
Pradeshheld that option to kick the bucket is certifiably not a crucial right
ensured under Article 21, subsequently, sec 309 isn't illegal.
The matter came before the supreme court of India in P. Rathinam v. Union of
where a division bench headed by Justice R.M. Sahai and Justice
Hasaria supported the Bombay high court which was decided in the Maruti sripati
dubal case which declared sec 309 as unconstitutional as it is hampering right
to die in context with the right to life under Article 21.
The court observed that the right to life also means the right to not live. The
supreme court further observed that penalizing a person who is mentally unfit or
depressed sets out an extra burden to the victim which is completely unethical.
Various critics pointed out various analogies after this judgment that if sec
309 was declared unconstitutional then it would create a severe impact on the
young immature minds. People usually suffer from various mental stress
especially the younger generation due to lack of proper mentorship took the
unexpected decision of ending their life after getting low marks or running into
a financial crisis which ultimately creates a negative impact on the family as
well society. Society.
In Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab
Supporting the Andhra Pradesh High
Court verdict, a five-judge constitutional panel overruled the P Rathinam
and correctly stated that the right to life does not include the right
to death. The right to life is a natural right, while the right to death is an
unnatural termination or extinction of life, according to the court.
Euthanasia alludes to intentionally taking somebody's life, usually to relieve
suffering. The right to life includes the right to live with dignity but when
we consider euthanasia a patient is in severe pain so his/her dignity itself is
There are two types of euthanasia:
- Active euthanasia:
Act of injecting lethal substances into patients in a vegetative state.
Active euthanasia is still not legalized
- Passive euthanasia:
Halting and removing artificial life support machines, medicines, and food
that only prolong the patient in a vegetative state.
The path-breaking judgment that came into the limelight of the general public is
Aruna Ramchandra shanbaug v.Union of India. A seat headed by Justice
Markandey Katju and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra set some hard boundaries of passive
euthanasia. When we are dealing with the right to live with dignity then we have
to consider in the event of a sick patient or an individual in PVS that is there
any expectation of recuperation to speed up the course of death for diminishing
the time of enduring eventually comprises an option to live with poise.
In Common cause (A Regd. Society) v. Union of India
,the Supreme Court
of India authorized detached Euthanasia by the withdrawal of life backing to
individuals who are in a long-lasting vegetative state. In that case, the
petitioner filed a writ petition in the context of Article 21.
Article 32 of the constitution seeks to declare the right to die with dignity as
a basic right. Allowing the first appeal in favor of the petitioner SC permitted
passive euthanasia and gave a wider direction to that. The court in exercising
power Under Art 142 set out the system relating to the execution of the Advance
Medical Directive and give rules to give impact detached willful extermination.
Court has over and over deciphered the different upsides and downsides of
decriminalizing the Right to Life. There are different parts of the option to
pass on when we are expressly centering and getting it adjusted as the right to
life. The conflict introduced under the steady gaze of different high courts is
that it considers every person as state property and it is the obligation of the
state to safeguard them. There is a need to patch up the way to deal with
tackling it easily and the current socio-legitimate circumstance should be
- 11 Top Quotes on Human Rights (unfoundation.org, 10 December 2015)
accessed 6 February 2022.
- Maruti ShripatiDubal vs State Of Maharashtra AIR 1997 SC 411.
- ChennaJagdeeshwar v. state of Andhra Pradesh1988 cri LJ 549.
- P. Rathinam v. Union of India (1994) 3 SCC 394.
- Gyan kaur v. State of Punjab (1996) 2 SCC 648.
- What Is Euthanasia? Types, Legal Status, Facts, Controversy, And (Healthline,
29 May 2018) accessed 9 February 2022.
- Aruna Ramchandra shanbaug v Union of India AIR 2011 SC 1290.
- Common cause( A Regd. Society) v. Union of India AIR 2018 SC 1665