"To die as per clearly stated, prior personal choice, without being tethered to tubes and machines in a usually futile bid to slightly prolong life in a comatose state, is a right that everyone must be granted", Reddy said, reacting to the Supreme Court ruling which recognised the right of a terminally-ill patient to make an "advance medical directive", or "living will" refusing medical treatment.
The decision makes it legal for the terminally ill to decide against using life support systems to continue living, and frees the doctors and families of those who slip into incurable comas to halt such measures, in the patients' best interest.
The Narendra Modi government said before the court that it has already mooted a bill governing passive euthanasia and "living power of attorney".
The top court, in its last year's verdict, said there was no justification to keep the enforcement of Lokpal Act suspended till the proposed amendments, including on the issue of the Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha, were cleared by the Parliament.
Virani said she was deeply grateful to the Supreme Court for its verdict. The right to live should logically encompass the right to stop living - the right to eat does not prevent a man from doing something else in life apart from eating, or the right to sleep does not mean that he can only sleep in exercise of his right. The Judges on the bench were nearly unanimous and in sync with the milestone verdict they passed and provided vocal support to the cause of the terminally ill people who they believe complete a glorious life only if they meet a non-volatile end.
The couple does not suffer from any ailments but wishes for assisted suicide as they do not wish to depend on hospitals
A passive euthanasia legislation that does not incorporate living wills is half baked, to put it mildly.
He said that the court has held that every person has the right to refuse treatment. "Keeping a patient alive by artificial means against his/her wishes is an assault on his/her body", the petition said. Making an interesting analysis of how passive euthanasia is opposed in the country both morally and religiously, the judge voted in its favour citing human dignity and the cost benefit involved in opting for the same.
The petitioner, NGO "Common Cause", had approached the court seeking a direction for recognition of "living will".
Right to life and liberty as envisaged under Article 21 is "meaningless" unless it encompasses within its sphere the individual dignity, the CJI said, adding, "Though the sanctity of life has to be kept on the high pedestal yet in cases of terminally-ill persons or PVS patients where there is no hope for revival, priority shall be given to the advance directive and the right of self-determination". "The initial case was on living will, which the Supreme Court disposed of on February 25, 2014", she says. Thus, this decision by the SC needs to be applauded.
The court also spelt the guidelines to be followed in cases where there would be no advance directive, saying that such persons can not be "alienated". "Active euthanasia has more likelihood of being misused by unscrupulous individuals to attain their ulterior motives and therefore, may not be approved".