At the point of this article, COVID-19 has affected the whole world on the trail of devastation, death, and anxiety. In India, the case number is growing quickly with higher than 10,000 cases enumerated per day. There is now a deficiency of beds and nursing amenities in towns like Mumbai and Delhi and with no positive headlines about making or public circulation of vaccines, people are in a position of desperation. In such a position, the victims with negligible risks of replacement should be permitted to rule on terminating their life, rather than calmly expecting for death to happen. It is sure that the rate of people who would opt for, or be suitable for, intentional euthanasia will here. But being ready to check their suffering is still crucial to preserve an individual’s right to liberty and considering their ‘right to die’. This study would explain the significance of intentional euthanasia in the modern public health emergency.
Keywords: devastation, deficiency, vaccines.
With time, human life has grown astonishingly valuable. In earlier ancestries, executing a person yet for little circumstances, like taking grapes, wasn’t examined. But in the current era, where we have an aroused shame and a conscious understanding, killing a person is not satisfactory. But something if a person voluntarily requests for death? Is that unacceptable too? Euthanasia is a method of intentionally terminating the life of a person to release them of their misery. The discussion on the validity of euthanasia has been operating on for decades and the arguments normally include religious, moral, and just concerns. Nevertheless, it is essential to look at it from the view of presenting serious death to the victims.
Based on permission, there are three kinds of euthanasia; freely, instinctive, and non-voluntary euthanasia. The center of this study is willing to euthanasia. Unintentional euthanasia, the victim or his/her lawful agent asks for the death of the victim, either by working or quiet euthanasia. Active euthanasia includes the control of a deadly shot to a patient by the doctor whereby painlessly generating death whereas in passive euthanasia the doctors abstain from exercising tools required to keep a person living thereby inducing death.
Validity of euthanasia
In the matter of Common Cause v. Union of India (2018), the Supreme Court of India approved inactive euthanasia in situations when the patient is terminally sick or in a vegetative status. This implies that India is slowly shifting towards helping a patient’s freedom to die. It was upheld by the court that the right to die with honor is also a fundamental freedom under Article 21. The court also announced guidelines for conducting euthanasia. These were:
• Passive euthanasia can only be delivered by a grown-up of sound and healthy memory
• It must be deliberately administered without any pressure or undue influence
• The victim must draft an “existence will” when he is competent in delivering judgments. It should specify the situations under which his medical therapy is to be eliminated. It should also involve who is entitled to permit retreat in case the victim grows incompetent of arranging so.
• The living will should be administered only when the victim becomes terminally sick with no remedy for the illness and no hope for restoration.
• The record has to be acknowledged by the jurisdictional Judicial Officer of First Class in the appearance of spectators and hereafter a Medical Board has to monitor the status of the patient and give permission.
It is apparent that the Supreme Court decision was an attempt to preserve the right of the victim to die with honor but what regarding the illegal obligations of the doctor who serves the patient in dying? The most significant portion in determining criminal liability is the purpose of the person or mens rea. An action taken without a hateful purpose does not attract criminal accountability. Nevertheless, Section 81 of the Indian Penal Code which presents protection for culpable homicide is not feasible in situations of euthanasia as the doctor planned to cause death. Further, Section 306 and Section 309 are also relevant in the circumstances of deliberate euthanasia. Also though there is no appearance of ‘wrongful’ purpose involuntary euthanasia, it is handled similar to culpable homicide not amounting to slay under Section 304 of IPC.
The bill “ Operation of Terminally Ill Patients, 2016” which enables victims to take choices comparing to passive euthanasia, is yet pending in the Parliament. In 2019, the Euthanasia Regulation Bill was also included in the Lok Sabha which caters to quick and passive euthanasia. The Bill drops off the illegal account of the doctor and the patient opting for euthanasia granted that the guidelines of the Law are developed. The hour requires to pass this Bill to establish the 2018 judgment of legalization of inactive euthanasia.
COVID-19 and Euthanasia
The restoration percentage of the patients has surely been growing quickly, nevertheless, some victims are terminally sick and have no possibility of improving. It is accurate that a doctor must administer palliative attention and constantly try to maintain the life of the victims. It seems potentially appealing to ‘let someone die’ but it is necessary to view it from the viewpoint of regarding the right to freedom and self-determination of a sufferer. The fundamental point here is ‘intentional’ which drops off the honest and ethical problems of euthanasia.
Furthermore, there are five primary requirements which need to be met before opting for voluntary euthanasia:
• The patient should be experiencing from a terminus and deadly disease.
• The patient is questionable to profit from the results of modern medicine in the resting period of his/her life
• The patient cannot sustain without life-prolonging devices.
• The patient should have an abiding and willing wish to die
• The patient cannot perform suicide without support.
Some of the victims of coronavirus are at a challenging stage of surgery wherein healing seems difficult and they meet every requirement stated above. Although coronavirus is a treatable illness, it was discovered that patients with a history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disorders were accessible prey, and “it will be hard for them to endure.” Even though many clinical actions of vaccines for coronavirus are being handled in various nations, there is no reality about the effects. The free circulation of the vaccine is expected to take place by 2021. There is a long way to go before this disaster ends perfectly.
All individuals have the power to take charge of their own life. It is important to know the difference between ‘killing’ and ‘allowing someone to die’ and the Indian Penal Code requires a plan to trade with such crises. Additionally, in the modern public health emergency, providing voluntary inactive euthanasia will not only help the victim die with pride but will also support the power economically in controlling the public health emergency. Executing a person without his/her approval or overpowering them to take such a move is honestly wrong. But the management of deliberate euthanasia to a soul is justified if he is well-informed regarding the medical methods and competent of producing a safe choice for himself. As long as the approval is not received vigorously, choosing to end his life should be correct and approved rather of passively expecting for death, not only through this pandemic but after it as sound. The right to die is possible to every human being. With just safeguards and rules being developed, voluntary euthanasia can be conducted out carefully and ethically.
Author: Nishtha Kheria,
Amity Law School, Amity University Noida 4th Year 7th semester / Student