ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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The Moral Basis for a Right to Die

In Aruna Ramchandra Shanbaug vs Union of India, the Supreme Court permitted passive euthanasia for terminally ill patients in certain circumstances. Judicial reasoning tends to accord an inordinate degree of importance to an absolutist reading of the "sanctity of life" principle. But this tenet has already been compromised to such an extent as to render its continued influence tenuous at best. Moreover, the ethical and jurisprudential foundation for extending the right to die to encompass assisted suicide or active euthanasia in controlled circumstances already exists in the present framework. However, patients incapable of ending their lives are unjustly pre-empted from availing of the right to die in its plenary form.

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