Right to Die U/A 21 of Indian Constitution
Under Indian law, the right to life is guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, which states that "No one shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except in accordance with the procedure established by law ."
In particular, when a person has an incurable illness or is in a protracted vegetative condition, the right to die with dignity has been included into this clause's interpretation of the law by the Indian judiciary over time.
In 2011, the Supreme Court of India issued a landmark judgment in the case of Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India, in which it held that the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right under the Constitution.
The case involved a nurse who had been in a vegetative state for over 37 years, and who was being kept alive through artificial feeding and medical intervention.
The court held that in certain circumstances, such as those involving terminal illness or irreversible coma, a person should have the right to refuse medical treatment and to die with dignity.
Following the Aruna Shanbaug case, the Supreme Court of India issued another landmark judgment in 2018 in the case of Common Cause v. Union of India, in which it held that the right to die with dignity includes the right to seek medical assistance to end one's life in certain circumstances.
The court struck down Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which criminalized attempted suicide, and held that individuals have the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies, including the decision to refuse medical treatment or to seek assistance in ending their lives.
Overall, the Indian judiciary has taken a progressive approach to the question of the right to die with dignity, recognizing that individuals have the right to make decisions about their own lives and bodies, particularly in cases involving terminal illness or irreversible coma. However, the issue remains controversial and subject to ongoing debate and discussion.
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