Framing of law on passive euthanasia under consideration: Govt tells Parliament

The Centre on Friday informed the Parliament that the matter regarding formulation of legislation on passive euthanasia is under consideration of the union health ministry.

This was stated by Health Minister JP Nadda in a written reply to a question in the Lok Sabha.

On 9 March this year, a five-judge Constitution bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra in its final judgment in the matter of Common Cause Vs Union of India & Others, has “laid down the principles relating to the procedure for execution of Advance Directive and provided the guidelines to give effect to passive euthanasia in both circumstances, namely, where there are advance directives and where there are none, in exercise of the power under Article 142 of the Constitution”.

The apex Court has further directed that “the directive and guidelines shall remain in force till the Parliament brings a legislation in the field”.

Earlier the Law Commission, vide its 241st Report titled ‘Passive Euthanasia- A Relook’, proposed for making a legislation on ‘Passive Euthanasia’ and also prepared a draft Bill, The medical treatment of terminally ill patients (protection of patients and medical practitioners) Bill’.

The Health Minister said that the draft bill was examined by the Committee of Experts under the Directorate General of Health Services in the Health Ministry.

Major recommendations of the Expert Committee are as under:

  • It has proposed only Passive Euthanasia.
  • No provision for Active Euthanasia.
  • Provision for a written medical directive given by a competent person called as Advance Medical Directive.
  • Applicable for patients with terminal illness, as defined in the Bill.
  • Separate provisions for process of withholding of treatment for competent and incompetent terminally ill patients.
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