Parliament may refer Euthanasia Bill to standing committee

Apex court leaves it open for Centre to take a call.

New Delhi: A five-judge Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on Monday asked Parliament to consider the issue of the “living will” of persons suffering from chronic terminal diseases, and likely to go into a permanent vegetative state, to refuse treatment to pave the way for his or her death.

The bench, comprising Justices Anil R. Dave, Kurian Joseph, Shiva Kirti Singh, A.K. Goel and Rohinton Nariman, hearing a petition filed by NGO Common Cause, took note of the submissions of additional solicitor-general P.S. Patwalia that the health ministry was considering the report of the Law Commission of India to allow passive euthanasia.

House may refer Euthanasia bill to standing committee
Based on plea for passive euthanasia, the law ministry will draft a Bill for the consideration of Parliament.

The additional solicitor-general P.S. Patwalia said that based on the recommendations of the expert committee, DG DGHS has proposed the formulation of legislation on “passive euthanasia”. The law ministry has sought clarification which has since been provided.

Parliament may also refer the Bill to a standing committee for wider discussion and consultation.

He said since “living will” was one facet of passive euthanasia, the court should wait till a final decision is taken by Parliament after discussion with doctors and various stakeholders.

Appearing for the NGO Mr Bhushan submitted that when a medical expert opined that the person afflicted with a terminal disease had reached a point of no return, then he/she should be given the right to refuse being put on a life-support system to prolong his/her agony.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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