“Euthanasia means as an action which aims at taking the life of another at the latter’s expressed request. It concerns an action of which death is the purpose and the result.” This definition applies only to voluntary euthanasia and excludes the non-voluntary or involuntary euthanasia, the killing of a patient without the patient’s knowledge or consent. Some call this “life-terminating treatment.”
Euthanasia may be classified into three types, according to whether a person gives informed consent: voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary.
Euthanasia can be also divided into two types according to means of death.
- Active Euthanasia- It is also known as ‘Positive Euthanasia’ or ‘Aggressive Euthanasia’. It refers to causing intentional death of a human being by direct intervention. For example by giving lethal dose of a drug or by giving a lethal injection. Active euthanasia is usually a quicker means of causing death and all forms of active euthanasia are illegal in India.
- Passive Euthanasia- It is also known as ‘Negative Euthanasia’ or ‘Non-Aggressive Euthanasia’. It implies to discontinuing, withdrawing or removing artificial life support system. Passive euthanasia is usually slower and more uncomfortable than active. Most forms of voluntary, passive and some instance of non-voluntary, passive euthanasia are legal in India.
As of March 2021, Active human euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, Colombia, Luxembourg, Western Australia, Canada and Spain.
Different opinions and arguments were made regarding the legalization of euthanasia. People who are against the legalization of euthanasia have opinions like- it is totally against the medical ethics, morals and public policy, it devalues human life, if it is legalized in India, it can be heavily misused etc. While on the other hand those are in support with the legalization of euthanasia have opinions like- Euthanasia provides a way to relieve the intolerably extreme pain and suffering of an individual, Article 21 of the Indian Constitution clearly provides for living with dignity. A person has a right to live a life with at least minimum dignity and if that is not possible then a person should be given a right to end his life.
It was held in Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug v. Union of India, it is the Court alone, which can ultimately take this decision in the case of an incompetent person who is unable to take a decision whether to withdraw life support or not, though, the views of the near relatives, next friend and doctors must be given due weight. Consequently, in this case, the Apex Court held that, though active euthanasia is completely illegal, passive euthanasia, to an extent, following the guidelines laid down in the case, legalized.
In Common Cause (A Regd. Society) vs. Union of India and Ors , a leading case on euthanasia, passive euthanasia was legalized, and it was held, by the Supreme Court, that the ‘right to die with dignity’ is a fundamental right. Medical treatment can be refused, or decided against taking the same, by a sane adult human of conscious mind. He may decide to die a natural death, instead of availing the treatments.
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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