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Essay: Euthanasia (research plan, India)

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  • Published: 18 February 2017*
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  • Tags: Euthanasia essays

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Synopsis of HLCD project:
1) Methodology:
I) Introduction
Euthanasia is a word derived from two greek letters eu (good) and thanatos (death), so by the meaning itself euthanasia means good death. Euthanasia is generally granted to a patient who is invariably in a vegetative state and has negligible chances to recover. Many a countries in world have allowed euthanasia but the situation of euthanasia is still equivocal in India as parliament has not made any ruling over it yet though Supreme Court of India has legalised passive euthanasia there are still a lot of fallacies related to it in the society. Euthanasia can majorly be divided into two headings:
a) Active Euthanasia
b) Passive Euthanasia
Active euthanasia is a concept of deliberately ending a patient’s life, by prescribing him lethal drugs or injections, with a belief that he/she won’t recover from the state of illness they are currently lying in. Passive euthanasia is a concept to indirectly ending a patient’s life by removing his/her life supporting equipments so that he can die naturally. The state of illness is as same as it is in active euthanasia.
These categories can further be divided into Voluntary and Involuntary euthanasia,
In voluntary euthanasia the patient himself tells that he is willing to die and in involuntary euthanasia patient is in a state of unconsciousness where he/she can’t deliver his opinion over it.
II) Intention
To understand the concept of euthanasia I will refer to supreme court rulings and law commission reports. I will make full use of the SCC and EPW to research on the topic.
III) Significance of studies:
This research would help me to understand the basic concepts and nuances of Euthanasia and its position in the society. It would also help me to understand different facets of euthanasia and its applicability in the country. I would also love to understand the evolution of euthanasia with relative study of it in the other countries. This research topic has its own importance as it tries to crave out the negative aspect (if any) of Article 21 right to life.
Literature review:
1. Aruna Ramchandra Shaunbaug vs Union of India, 2011 (2011 (4) SCC 454)
This was a PIL filed by Pinky Virani in the capacity as next friend of Aruna Shaunbaug. Supreme court gave a landmark judgement in whihc though it rejected the plea of Pinky to grant Euthanasia to Aruna but legalised and laid guidelines for Passive Euthanasia in the country.
2. Gian Kaur vs The state of Punjab, 1996 (1996 SCC (2) 648)
This was the case in which supreme court struck down its earlier judgement(P. Rathinam vs Union of India, 1994 (1994 SCC (3) 394), which stated that Right to Die was a part of Article 21 and declared section 309 as unconstitutional, and upheld the constitutionality of section 306 and 309.
3. P. Rathinam vs Union of India, 1994 (1994 SCC (3) 394)
This was the case in which Supreme Court held Section 309 of IPC unconstitutional as per the provisions of Article 21 under which it was adjudged that Right to Life (Article 21) includes Right to Die.
4. LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA 196TH REPORT (MEDICAL TREATMENT TO TERMINALLY ILL PATIENTS (PROTECTION OF PATIENTS AND MEDICAL PRACTITIONERS) March 2006 (http://lawcommissionofindia.nic.in/reports/rep196.pdf)
This report was submitted by Law Commission claiming the validation of Euthanasia. This report explained the concept of Euthanasia, assisted suicide, abetment of suicide and removing life support equipments from terminally ill patients in India. This report stated the nuances (in cases and statutes) of Euthanasia in different countries and their relevance for India.
5. LAW COMMISSION OF INDIA 241st report Passive Euthanasia – A Relook Report
This report was submitted after the Aruna Shaunbaug case. It explained the guidelines laid by Supreme Court for Euthanasia and tried to identify the different facets and relation between 196th Law commission report and Supreme court’s judgement. It has analysed the 196th report and supreme court’s judgement with the view to suggest government to formulate a new legislation.
6.To live or let die: The debate on euthanasia rages on in India by Preeti Sahu on April 26, 2016 http://southasiamonitor.org/detail.php?type=emerging&nid=16589
This article commented on debates of Euthanasia going in different parts of country and different strata of society. Requirement of Euthanasia and the different religious views on Euthanasia were highlighted in the content of the article.
7. The right to choose death: is India ready for euthanasia? by Hepzi Anthony on July 21, 2016http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/news/the-right-to-choose-death-is-india-ready-for-euthanasia/article8878597.ece)
This was a report covering views of different people in society consisting of Doctors, lawyers, social workers and other important people in their professional roles. They were trying to analyse the essentialities before legalizing euthanasia and prospects of it.
8. Is Passive Euthanasia Finally Going to Be a Legal Reality in India? by Minakshi Bikwas on MAY 31, 2016.(http://thewire.in/39609/is-passive-euthanasia-finally-going-to-be-a-legal-reality- in-india/
This report revolves around the liberal policies adopted and being adopted by the judiciary and legislation. It states about the new bill being drafted by Indian Government and open to discussion for people. It provides more than liberal view of Supreme court in deciding the Aruna Shaunbaug case.
Statement of problem:
As per my study I think the gap or an untouched argument over Euthanasia in country was the limited availability of Euthanasia in the society and lack of awareness about it. State taking a man’s life actively is allowed but person is not allowed to end his/her life actively. The consent of the patient in an unconscious state is a big problem that the concept of involuntary euthanasia face.
Hypothesis:
Euthanasia is desirable and its implementation should be extended to a broader section of society.
Research Objectives:
1. To study Euthanasia in a deeper and more realistic way so that its structural format considering safe implementation of euthanasia could be understood.
2. To understand different states of illnesses in which passive euthanasia is granted.
3. To understand the legal procedure to get consent of a patient when he/she is in an unconscious state.
Research Question:
Whether the extension of euthanasia in the country would be safe for elderly, mentally handicapped, and other socially backward groups?
Whether assisted suicide is more lethal wrong than passive euthanasia in eyes of law and why?
Why is passive euthanasia more preferred than active euthanasia, even though active euthanasia is more painless and desirable way to end the life?
Why does state itself allows to take some person’s life actively but has put restrictions on the liberty of a person to kill himself?
Research Methodology:
1. Doctrinal:
The following materials have been referred to research:
i) Case laws
ii) Law commission reports
iii) Articles on Euthanasia

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