Legalization of Euthanasia in India with Specific Reference to the Terminally Ill: Problems and Perspectives
Journal of Indian Law and Society, Vol. 2 (Monsoon)
34 Pages Posted: 9 May 2012
Date Written: August 1, 2011
Concern about whether physicians should assist suicide or deliberately kill their patients is ancient. But the renewed interest in the moral arguments surrounding euthanasia can be attributed to the catapulting advances in life-sustaining medical technology. This paper seeks to look for answers to this dilemma from a humanitarian viewpoint by exploring the fundamentals of euthanasia and the debate revolving around legalization of euthanasia, especially in the context of the terminally ill. It examines the parameters for the criminalization of such conduct and the subsequent move towards its decriminalization is also examined. The persistent outlook of the judiciary till now is that legalizing euthanasia is the function of the legislature and can be done by enacting a suitable law. Such attempts by the legislature in the past have been aborted. Nonetheless, this paper discusses prospective legal guidelines to be taken into consideration to avoid probable misuse in the hands of the future miscreants who will administer euthanasia. Discarding the 'slippery slope' argument which has been resorted to by the critics of euthanasia and has long overshadowed the legalization of euthanasia, the paper concludes with the suggestion that humane treatment be meted out to patients in excruciating pain and in cases where death itself is the final answer.
Keywords: euthanasia, patients, slippery slope, decriminalization
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