Plea to legalize Active Euthanasia in India

Plea to legalize Active Euthanasia in India

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kirtika trehan started this petition to minister of health and family welfare

I am a trainee Social Worker at AIIMS, where I have come to this realization that the palliative care policy of the Government needs to be reconsidered and more emphasis is required. The mere prolongation of life, with no hope of recovery, could not necessarily be held to be in the patient’s best interests. I appreciate the Supreme Court’s judgment in acknowledging the right to passive Euthanasia but I feel that the judgment has failed to contextualize the “right to die” debate, taking into consideration the existing inequity in access to healthcare and the overall organization of the healthcare system in India where a large number of people are forced to embrace an undignified death due to the lack of resources and the lack of ability to access necessary care.

I believe that the sanctity of life cannot be advanced as a reason to refuse the recognition of advance directives/living will/active euthanasia. I would also like to mention that this principle is not absolute in the Indian context. Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code permits the award of capital punishment, while the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971, permits abortion. Most recently, Section 115 of the Mental Healthcare Act 2017 states that a person who commits suicide shall be presumed to be suffering from a mental illness and the act will not be considered a crime within the meaning of Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code.

Further, Justice Sikri also commented on Economic consequences of not acknowledging active Euthanasia as the following, “First, because of rampant poverty where majority of the persons are not able to afford health services, should they be forced to spend on medical treatment beyond their means and in the process compelling them to sell their house property, household things and other assets which may be means of livelihood. Secondly, when there are limited medical facilities available, should a major part thereof be consumed on those patients who have no chances of recovery?”

I believe that citizens who are suffering from an incurable and insufferable possibly terminal condition can and should be able to choose to end their life with the assistance of a doctor and it will help the people who are suffering from debilitating illness to finally be free from suffering and take control of their life choices again. 

I request you to please take this into consideration and work upon the national policy bringing the concept of “living will” and Active Euthanasia within the fabric of our nation's Palliative Care Policy. It is already prevalent in countries like Netherlands, Hungary, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom, they all have provisions for ‘advanced directives’ and right to Active Euthanasia has helped in advancing the right to Self-Determination for all. 

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At 100 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!