SC awaits government's stand to legalise ‘passive euthanasia’

New Delhi: While examining a plea to legalise passive euthanasia — withdrawing life-support system to terminally ill patients — Supreme Court on Friday observed that it would await government’s stand on the issue.

 

"Is the government making its stand clear in a reasonable time," a five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Justice A R Dave, asked Additional Solicitor General P S Patwalia, who sought some time to get instruction from the competent authority.

 

Meanwhile, the law officer informed the bench about the 241st report of the Law Commission which proposes certain safeguards to be practised before carrying out ‘passive euthanasia’.

 

The law officer informed the bench about the 241st report of the Law Commission which has stated that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards and there was a proposed law -- Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill, 2006.

 

He said his contention will also be based on 6.7 regulation of 2002 under Medical Council of India Act which says that practicing euthanasia shall constitute unethical conduct.

 

However on specific occasions, the question of withdrawing supporting devices to sustain cardio-pulmonary function even after brain death, shall be decided only by a doctors' team and not merely by the treating physician alone.

PTI