Euthanasia, the painless killing of a person with an in curable disease or stuck in an irreversible coma or vegetative state could also be called assisted suicide. Euthanasia is to an extent, linked to the right to death.
Right to die is a concept based on the opinion that human beings are entitled to end their life or undergo voluntary euthanasia. Possession of this right is reserved for a person who is suffering a terminal illness, in curable pain, an irreversible coma or without the will to continue living, should be allowed to use assisted suicide, or to decline life prolonging treatment. The only question that remains is who, if anyone is empowered enough to make this decision. And this question is often in debate.
Euthanasia is classified into 3 types —
Voluntary euthanasia is when the consent of the patient is available. This form of euthanasia is legal in a growing number of countries.
Non-voluntary euthanasia is when a patients consent for mainly medical reasons is not available. This is also growing to be legal in a number of countries but under very strict laws and implications in both active and passive forms.
Involuntary euthanasia is when the process of euthanasia is performed without asking consent or against the will of the patient. This is illegal in all countries and is considered as murder.
In India, passive euthanasia was made legal in March of 2018 under strict guidelines. The verdict of making passive euthanasia legal with strict guidelines was given after Pinki Virani, a social activist and friend of Aruna Shanbaug, appealed to the court that the “continued existence of Aruna is in violation of her right to live in dignity” Aruna Shanbaug was a nurse working at KEM hospital, Parel Mumbai and was strangled and sodomised by a sweeper in 1973. The strangulation caused deprivation of oxygen to Aruna and left her in a vegetative state since then at KEM hospital itself. While the Supreme Court rejected the plea to discontinue Aruna’s life support, they issued a set of broad guidelines legalising passive euthanasia in India. The plea for discontinuation of Aruna’s life support was rejected based on the fact that the hospital staff that treated and took care of her were against euthanising her. According to the guidelines given by the court in legalising passive euthanasia, passive euthanasia involves discontinuing or withdrawing treatment or food that would allow a patient to live. To be able to get passively euthanised, patients must consent it through a living will or be terminally ill or in a vegetative state.
Other forms of active euthanasia, including the administration of lethal compounds are legal in a number of jurisdictions including Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands as well as the US states of Washington and Oregon are still illegal in India. Elsewhere in the world, active euthanasia is almost always illegal. The legal status of passive euthanasia, on the other hand, including the withdrawals of nutrition or water varies across the nations of the world.
As India had no law about euthanasia, the supreme court’s guidelines are law until the parliament passes a legislation. After the court ruling, the telegraph consulted with various religious leaders of Muslim, Hindu, Jain and Christian origin. The Christians and Jains thought passive euthanasia was acceptable under certain strict circumstances whereas the Hindus and Muslims mentioned about sticking to their own rituals wherein one fasts unto death. Some members of the medical establishment in India seemed to be slept iCal about this jurisdiction because of India’s weak rule of law and large gap between the rich and poor. They were worried this would lead to the exploitation of elders by their families.
I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.
If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.
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