The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its judgment on living wills in cases of passive euthanasia, ANI reported. A living will is a document by which patients tell doctors what kind of medical treatment they would like in case of a serious illness.
The petitioner argued that the right to die peacefully and with dignity is part of the Right to Life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra said that a person’s advance directive to let them die with dignity should only be carried out when a medical board confirms that they are beyond cure, according to The Hindu. The bench of justices that heard the case also said it would lay down guidelines to draft living wills and how it can be made authentic.
On Tuesday, the Centre had told the Supreme Court that doctors are not obliged to follow the living will of a terminally-ill patient seeking euthanasia. The court was hearing a petition by non-governmental organisation Common Cause to declare the “right to die with dignity” a fundamental right.
The government also told the court that it had prepared a draft Bill on withdrawal of medical support to terminally-ill patients. Currently, passive euthanasia, or the withholding treatment essential to life to a terminally-ill patient, is legal in India.