The most significant manner to understand the eminence of dignity and individual's rights is to study about the terminally ill patient's last phase of life and the legal scenario surrounding the highly debated issue − Euthanasia. As euthanasia is a form of extinguishing life, it is of immense importance to examine each cognate of life for the purpose of understanding the pros and cons of euthanasia. This book on legalizing euthanasia in India is an effort undertaken in the light of an extensive debate which is advancing at an accelerating stride and becoming increasingly prominent to provide death with dignity to terminally ill patients who lack representation in the society.
The moral and ethical connotation of euthanasia is preordained to the fact that life has intrinsic value. The issue of euthanasia is based on life, which includes its various cognates, such as, origin of life, meaning of life, value of life, quality of life, protection of life, sanctity of life and evaluative status of life. Value of life is concretely intertwined with the right to die or euthanasia debate. The difference of opinion about how to value life according to the changing state of human life adds to the euthanasia controversy.
Moreover, the debate of euthanasia, inter alia, is based on human dignity; it accentuates the pertinence of right to die a dignified death on par with the right to dignified life. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution upholds right to human dignity but denies right to a dignified death.
Euthanasia or right to die should not be for eternity considered to be intrinsically wrong, as required augmentation in legal arena shall not pose an insurmountable impediment to legalize euthanasia. Parliament and the judiciary, both have the power and the duty to address these issues carefully and acknowledge the inevitable uncertainty and complexity of decisions about life and death. In order to avoid illegal acts of euthanasia, there is a need to have a fresh look at the legal provisions for terminally ill patients. Though the State is duty bound to protect and preserve life of individuals in the society, there can be exceptions to the law on reasonable grounds. Especially, as the 20th century has experienced tremendous development in the medical technology, the doctor’s role of curing diseases and relieving pain has now changed into prolonging life via medications, transfusions, respirators, dialysis machines, artificial feeding, etc.
A sincere attempt is made in this book to highlight the predicaments faced by the terminally ill patients and hence the need to have an appropriate legislation for terminally ill patients in India is emphasized. The change in concept of death, the artificial life support techniques, various diseases leading to terminal illness, the agony faced by the patients and emergence of advance directives are some important areas of concern which compel to have euthanasia legalized in any acceptable form adaptable in the society.
1. Euthanasia, Life and Its Constitutional Parameters
2. Concept of Euthanasia and Its Various Forms vis-a-vis State`s Duty to Protect Life: An Analysis
3. Medico-legal Aspects of Euthanasia
4. Laws Governing Euthanasia in Some Selected Countries World Over and the Judicial Response: A Comparative Analysis
5. Legalizing Euthanasia in India: A Need for Constitutional Correction and Legislative Response
Conclusions and Suggestions