Should India allow ‘living will’ for right to die? Constitution bench to decide
New Delhi – A five-judge Constitution bench will decide whether a “living will”, allowing people to choose death if they are terminally ill or may go into a vegetative state, should be permitted in India.
The Supreme Court referred a petition seeking a law allowing living wills to a Constitution bench today. The petition was filed by the NGO Common Cause and argued in court by Prashant Bhushan, who said a person should be allowed to die with dignity.
“Right to die with dignity is also a part of the right to liberty,” said Kamal Jaiswal of Common Cause, which filed a writ petition asking for a law on the lines of the Patient Autonomy and Self-determination Act of the US, which allows living wills.
The Centre has opposed it saying it will have serious repercussions, and a decision on withdrawing someone’s life support system should be by a panel of doctors, not the patient. The government also believes that the policy should be decided by the executive, not the judiciary.