The landmark cases that expound the view of Article 21 of Constitution of India, 1950 and finally brought the concept of Passive euthanasia in the country. Right to Life also have the Right to Die with dignity (in certain grounds).
Cases is related to the euthanasia.
• Euthanasia derives from Greek word
“Euthanatos” which means easy death.
• It means the painless killing of a patient suffering
from an incurable and painful diseases or in an
• This case is a landmark case where the court
intrude the new term passive euthanasia and
differ the active euthanasia and passive
• It is also a landmark judgment because it comes
into the action without infringing the Article 21,
i.e., Right to Life.
Aruna was a nurse and the culprit was a ward boy at KEM hospital,
• The incident happened when Aruna was changing her clothes in the
basement and ward boy (Sohanlal) caught to assault her sexually.
• During the attack in 1973, she was strangled with the dog chain and
the lack of oxygen in the brain left her in a vegetative state.
• Later, when she was found by her fellow workers on the floor with
the clothes in blood, she was admitted in the hospital.
• She was then in that condition where she had no control on her body
and became a alive cadaver (vegetative state) and kept alive by a
feeding tube for 48 years.
• After a long time, Pinki Virani filed a petition in the apex court on
behalf of her to give her euthanasia as in the violation of Right to live
• In the last, it was not found that Mr. Sohanlal sexually assault her.
The court denied to give the euthanasia to Aruna Ramchandra as the doctors and members of
KEM hospital found that Aruna was not in the complete vegetative state, she respond sometime
and feel the pain and the surrounding environment.
Pinki was not that next friend to Aruna to whom the court considered.
The court adopted the passive euthanasia but did not considered the living bill (until the
judgment came in Common Cause v. Union of India).
The court issue some guidelines for the passive euthanasia and did not adopted the active
The decision to discontinue life support must be taken by the parents, spouse, or other close
relatives or next friend in the absence of them.
The decision requires approval from the concerning high court.
Difference between active euthanasia and passive euthanasia.
The court gives the power to decide to give her passive euthanasia to the nurses and they
COMMON CAUSE SOCIETY VS. UNION OF INDIA
The court held with the 5 judges bench lead by Hon’ble Deepak Mishra.
Right to life include right to die with dignity otherwise have a meaningful
The court suggest to apply the living bill concept that brings the freedom to
the relatives as well as the doctor to work according to the bill.
Guidelines were given as:-
The person with soundmind with his total understanding can write a living
bill that will be later signed infront of the magistrate by the person who write it
and with two witnesses, valid.
It shall be written clearly when the life supporting system will be taken
The name of the person who has the authority to use the bill within the same
manner it was written.
If the bill was not there then, the doctor shall consist of the medical board of the hospital which
shall discuss the family physician and members of the family .
The family members gives the consent in writing to take the further steps.
The hospital inform the magistrate constitute a medical board comprising the Chief District
Medical Officer as the chairman and other three experts- cardiology, neurology and other field of
the general medical have experience of more than 15 years.
The approval shall going to JMFC and the members of the family.
The judge do the preliminary investigation for his satisfaction and later the magistrate verify the
medical reports, examine the condition of the patient.
If the authority did not satisfied with the reports and did not give the permission then, the
hospital staff can seek permission from the High Court to withdraw the life support.
Justice Chandrachud observed,
“Modern medical science should balance its quest to prolong life with need to provide
patients quality of life. One is meaningless without the other.”
The Supreme Court provides the guidelines but the parliament does not make any law to
implement the judgment on the ground. So, there should be an Act for the same.
The Medical Treatment of Ill Patients bill was pending in the parliament and must be
implemented on the ground as soon as possible.
The Parliament is not ready to adopt the living bill in the interest of the people but adopt the
passive euthanasia . So, living bill helps in order to implement the euthanasia in a better way.
The draft is against the concept of living bill that somewhere is like a barrier for euthanasia.
Netherland, Belgium, Colombia, Lexumberg, Canada, Japan, Australia, Switzerland, Germany
and others are the countries to adopt this concept and few countries adopt the both concept.
Right to Life also have the right to die with dignity (in certain conditions).
CONCLUSION & SUGGESTIONS