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A Review on Euthanasia

A Review on Euthanasia

By Shiralee Kinariwal

Euthanasia is a word which has been in existence for many years. This word has been derived from the Greek word eu Thanatos which meant easy death to the ill person. And now in modern times, it means mercy killing. According to recent times, euthanasia is a phenomenon in which the victim or any other person on his behalf, choose death for himself mainly because of medical conditions of the victim and then he is put to death by someone else. That person is put to death because he has been suffering from so long and is facing a lot of difficulties to live his life properly and is also facing a lot of problems. In other words, it is the assisted suicide where the other person let you finish one’s life that is eventually very ill and cynical.

In 1984, there was an old woman in Germany who was suffering from some tremendous bodily pain as she was a cancer patient and she was suffering a lot. She had also eaten her mouth, cheeks, and her eye. She has also undergone radiation treatment but she is not able to cure her disease so she asked her doctor to help her die so the doctor and the patient has a very long conversation on it. Then the doctor also consulted his team of doctors as well his lawyers and then he gave her the cyanide dose and she died. After this, the great debate started whether the right to die is valid or not. But in the United Kingdom, it is illegal to assist someone to death and they also have the punishment of imprisonment up to 14 years.

There are many types of euthanasia but the major two are active as well as the passive euthanasia. Active euthanasia is type o euthanasia where the person uses some substance or force to end the life of the person as he is suffering from some kind of unbearable pain. For example- if a woman is suffering from some abnormal pain so the doctor gives him the dose of cyanide and she dies then this is a kind of active euthanasia. And passive euthanasia is kind of euthanasia when life-sustaining treatments are concealed. For example- if a man is suffering from cancer and he is at his third stage and if he stops taking his medical treatment and he dies after some time then this is called passive euthanasia. Out of both the active euthanasia is the most controversial as compared to the passive euthanasia. And passive euthanasia has been legal in India.

Euthanasia was a very big controversy in our country in March 2018 as the supreme court has given the judgment that passive euthanasia is legalized in India. And this case has only been given when a person is in the permanent vegetative state. And this was done in the aruna shaunbagh case where the person was in the permanent vegetative state till her death in 2015. On 9th March 2018 where the Supreme Court has passed the judgment that passive euthanasia is legalized in India.

Aruna Shaunbagh[1] was a nurse at a hospital and she was sodomized but a sweeper in that hospital. And she was strangled with the help of a chain and then she was having the problem in breathing and was in her vegetative state. On behalf of the aruna her friend, who was a social activist filed a petition in the supreme that the continued existence of aruna is harming her right to live with dignity. So the Supreme Court consulted with the doctors of the hospital and passive euthanasia was lade legalized but she was not allowed to take it as doctors were against it. And finally, she died in 2015 as she was suffering from pneumonia and she was in the coma for the past 42 years. This was a landmark case because of which passive euthanasia was made legalized in India. There were many other cases which took place such as Gian Kaur v. the State of Punjab [2] and many other also.

There was a controversy that the right to life under article 21 includes the right to die with dignity or not. And after so much debate in the court, it was concluded that right to life also includes the ambit of the right to die. If we look euthanasia globally then we can find out that in China, euthanasia is not recognized as most of the death caused is due to the passive euthanasia, Belgium and Netherlands have recognized euthanasia and united states of America has also recognized euthanasia in their country. And would hope that many other countries should also legalize euthanasia in their country as India has taken a step forward to legalize passive euthanasia. Because there are many people in this world who are suffering from the unbearable pain and are unable to cure from that disease so we should help them by allowing euthanasia in the country so that they can exercise their right to die with full dignity as it comes under the ambit of right to live under article 21 of the Indian constitution


[1] writ petition (criminal) no. 115 of 2009

[2] special leave petition (crl.) no. 8989 of 2011

 

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