Allow passive euthanasia? Centre asks for your view


After years of debate and legal battles, the Union government has come up with a draft bill on passive euthanasia that gives patients the right to "withhold or withdraw medical treatment to herself or himself" and "allow nature to take its own course".
The Union health ministry last week uploaded the draft, titled Terminally Ill Patients (protection of patients and medical practitioners) Bill, on its website and has invited comments, via email, from people before June 19, 2016.
The bill provides protection to patients and doctors from any liability for withholding or withdrawing medical treatment and states that palliative care (pain management) can continue.
However, the draft has disappointed experts who wanted complete clarity on the concept of a living will. A living will is defined as "a document in which a person states his/her desire to have or not to have extraordinary life-prolonging measures used when recovery is not possible from his/her terminal condition''. But paragraph 11 of the draft bill said that any "advance medical directive (living will) or medical power of attorney executed by the person shall be void and of no effect and shall not be binding on any medical practitioner''.
The draft lays down the process for seeking euthanasia, right from the composition of the medical team to moving the high court for permission.

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