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SC issues notice to states, UTs on legalising passive euthanasia
The Supreme Court today issued notice to all states and Union Territories on a plea for legalizing passive euthanasia. The apex court was hearing a plea on allowing euthanasia for people who are terminally ill and have slight chances of survival.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan while speaking to the media, as reported by ANI, said, "The issue of validity on 'a living will' related to the issue of euthanasia was heard by constitutional bench of the Supreme Court today and they have now issued notice to all the states to respond to the issue. The issue is whether a person who has effected by an illness, which he has been rendered unconscious and there is no hope according to the medical opinion of his revival and is suffering from a terminal illness or in a permanent vegetative state. Whether he has a right to give an advanced directive or leave a will that he should not be kept alive by ventilators or by artificial means. And whether the doctors and other people have to bound to follow his wishes."

He also added, "Related to that is also the question of euthanasia, that if the patient has not expressed any such will then, their near relatives can direct the hospital and the doctors to withdraw his life support systems in this kind of situations. This issue of passive euthanasia was considered by the supreme court in Aruna Shanbaug's case a few years ago and a division bench of SC has decided that passive euthanasia is perfectly legal."

This petition on passive euthanasia was filed by an NGO seeking voluntary passive euthanasia including withdrawal of life support system of a terminally ill person and stopping medication.

Passive euthanasia can involve turning off respirators, halting medications, discontinuing food and water so the patient dies because of dehydration or starvation. It can also include giving the patient large doses of morphine to control pain in spite of the likelihood that the painkiller can cause fatal respiratory problems.

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