Cryonics in India: Fulfilling the Ardent 'Legal' Desire to Live
Book on Red Biotechnology (2018), Astral International Publishers. (ISBN: 9789351249627)
22 Pages Posted: 4 Feb 2020
Date Written: November 19, 2017
Cryonic suspension refers to preservation of human tissues and cells at extremely low temperature in anticipation revival in future, making it possible to prolong the life of individuals infinitely and to cure currently ‘untreatable’ bodily infirmities when their treatment would become available. Being a futuristic technology widely regarded as fiction until late 1980s, the gamut of cryonics has expanded vastly since then, with promising developments made in the past decade itself and much more expected in the recent future. Though advances in medical technology has been constant in the recent past, the legal framework surrounding cryonics has been a grim story. The rule of law provides little insight to meet such challenges in entirety, all across the world and particularly in India, where the constitutional mandate under Article 21 calls for promotion of life and well-being. Several religious, ethical, constitutional and legal issues also arise in dealing with cryonics, primarily because it challenges the concept of mortality itself- an inalienable fact which forms the basis of the entire legal jurisprudence. Venturing into this realm of the ‘unknown’ explicates crucial questions surrounding medical determination of death, constitutional viability of the practice and its intersection with assisted suicide, criminal identity and criminal liability, rights in ownership, claims under insurance laws and so on. This paper attempts to explore answers to these questions, thereby establishing a legal and ethical framework for regulating cryonics and suggesting recommendations for the same. While technological developments surpass even our wildest estimates, our laws should aim to provide answers before questions even arise.
Keywords: cryonics, cryogenics, cryonic suspension, right to die, assisted suicide, euthanasia, law, legal, property rights, insurance rights, constitution, criminal law, ethics, religion, India
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