India's top court approves right to passive euthanasia


It is a fundamental right for the terminally ill or people with no hope of recovery to “die with dignity,” India’s Supreme Court said on March 9 in a landmark ruling to allow passive euthanasia – the withdrawal of medical treatment or life support with the intention of allowing an individual to die.

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The judgment, delivered by a panel of five judges, permits a “living will” that patients can authorize in advance, which will allow family members to approve turning off artificial life support.

This ruling comes after Mumbai nurse Aruna Shanbaug passed away in 2015 after 42 years in hospital in a vegetative state after being sexually assaulted and strangled. The case sparked a national debate on legalizing euthanasia.

Active euthanasia by delivering a lethal injection is still illegal in India.

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