Should the law legalise the right to die??

By Melissa Fernandes

The constitution has put forth our rights which have been debated, argued, amended and questioned over the years since they were set decades back and needed to be altered with the growing society. We have a right to education, expression, equality, constitutional remedies, right to live and not be deprived of personal liberty and more. But have we ever thought about the right to die? Does a person get to decide what to do with his/her life? This has been a raging debate which is still contentious. Known as Euthanasia, it is a term used to define the act of either painlessly causing the death or failing to prevent death from occurring, from natural causes in an individual with a terminal illness or in an irreversible coma. It is a very controversial subject as it faces moral difficulties. It is perceived to be both negative and positive as people hold different perspectives.


The case of Aruna Shanbhag being debated in the media

Some people believe that euthanasia is a merciful act of dying when your body does not respond to any treatment and is in a vegetative state. On the other hand, there are opponents of euthanasia who are of the opinion that this method is a form of murder. This debate seems unlikely that it will ever be resolved. Each case of euthanasia is different and has a completely different situation that the patient is in. There can be no set laws for deciding one way or the other as each case of euthanasia has to be viewed keeping in mind the situation in hand. The case study of Aruna Shanbhag, a nurse at the King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM) is one such example of euthanasia where an attorney named Shekhar Nafde petitioned the court for the death of Aruna who’s life was worse than animal existence as she was in coma for the past 35 odd years and was taken care of by the other nurses in KEM. There are many such cases but the law in India does not allow an individual to end his/her life voluntarily.

Euthanasia is very different from suicide which is an act of killing oneself without the knowledge of any other person which euthanasia is just the opposite. The two concepts are factually very different from each other.

I strongly feel that euthanasia should be legalized in India as the patient is suffering and there is no scope for improvement, hence it’s better to let go of the person. Its better this way as those who are in this state not only suffer but also cause trouble to their family who watch them suffer. Financial conditions of the family make a big difference as there are many who cannot afford the hospital bills. Also, patients in a vegetative state end up using a lot of medical resources that otherwise can be used for people who have a chance of getting medically fit. Hence, euthanasia should be legalized as every individual had every right over his/her life and can take decisions under certain circumstances.


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