Govt not in favour of euthanasia

PTI New Delhi | Updated on August 13, 2013 Published on August 13, 2013

Government today said it is not in favour of bringing a law on mercy killings.

“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is not in favour of enacting the Bill (on mercy killing)...There is no proposal under consideration at this stage for making law on this subject,” Health and Family Welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad told Rajya Sabha in reply to a query.

The view of the ministry has been conveyed to the ministry of Law & Justice, he said.

Citing the reasons, the minister said the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors is against intentional or voluntary killing of a patient.

Among other reasons, Azad said progression of medical science to relieve pain, suffering, rehabilitation and treatment of so-called incurable diseases will suffer a set back and an individual may wish to die at a certain point of time and his wish may not be persistent and only a fleeting desire out of transient depression.

Azad said there might be psychological pressure and trauma to the medical officers who would be required to conduct withdrawal of life support and that defining of bed-ridden and requiring regular assistance is not always medically possible.

The minister said the Supreme Court guidelines in this respect given in the Aruna Shanbaug case be treated as law.

The Supreme Court while dismissing the plea for mercy killing of a Mumbai nurse, Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, laid down comprehensive guidelines to process ‘passive euthanasia’ till Parliament passes a law, while making a clear distinction between ‘active euthanasia’, which means ending of life of a patient by injecting medication and ‘passive euthanasia’ permitting to withdraw life support to a terminally ill patient.

Published on August 13, 2013
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