Passive euthanasia: In India, debate on 'living will' has seen many turns

On Jan 17, SC decided to 'tweak' its 2018 verdict to make passive euthanasia more workable

Debarghya Sanyal New Delhi

Passive euthanasia is the withdrawal of nutrition and water and withholding of life-saving treatment, thus facilitating the person’s end, and relieving them from suffering

The topic of euthanasia is perhaps best remembered in Indian popular culture through the lens of Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s Guzaarish (2010). Starring Hrithik Roshan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, the film presents an emotional case for an individual’s right to choose death. The film also brought to attention the phrase “Living Will”.

According to the concept of ‘living will’, a patient can give consent that allows withdrawal of life support systems if the individual is reduced to a permanent vegetative state with no real chance of survival. Much of the Bhansali film is rooted in the protagonist Ethan Mascarenhas’s fight to establish the validity of ‘living will’.

Eight years after the release of the film, the Supreme Court had passed a landmark judgment in 2018, declaring ‘passive euthanasia’ permissible and legalising ‘living will’.

On Tuesday, January 17, 202

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First Published: Jan 19 2023 | 12:59 PM IST

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