Passive euthanasia case: Centre opposes the living will

The court is now considering the plea of an NGO, Common Cause, to declare ‘right to die with dignity’ as a fundamental right within the fold of Right to Live with Dignity guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.

A five-judge constitution bench of the top court, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, is hearing the case.

Besides the CJI, the bench also comprises justices A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan.

The court had in February 2014 referred to a Constitution bench a plea favouring voluntary passive euthanasia or mercy killing in cases where a person is suffering from a terminal illness and has no chance of revival and recovery as per the medical opinion.

How is living will defined?

‘Living will’ explain a situation whether or not a person wants to be kept on life support if he/she becomes terminally ill and will die shortly without life support, or fall into a persistent vegetative state. It also addresses other important questions, detailing a person’s preferences for tube feeding, artificial hydration, and pain medication in certain situations. A living will becomes effective only when a person cannot communicate his/her desires on own.

What is “passive euthanasia”?

The term “passive euthanasia” used by the Supreme Court in its verdict on Aruna Shanbaug’s case is defined as the withdrawal of life support, treatment or nutrition with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill patient’s death.

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The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017

Eleven lakh teachers appointed till March 2015 under the Right to Education (RTE) Act will now get time till 2019 to acquire the prescribed minimum qualifications for firming up their appointments as Parliament passed a bill in this regard.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed by the Rajya Sabha by voice vote. The Lok Sabha had passed it on July 22. According to the existing Act which came into effect from 1st April  2010, these teachers were to acquire minimum qualifications within five years by March 31, 2015.

Under the Act, if a state does not have adequate teacher training institutions or a sufficient number of qualified teachers, the provision to possess minimum qualifications is relaxed for a period not exceeding five years i.e. till March 31, 2015.

The Bill further adds to this provision by stating that those teachers who do not possess the minimum qualifications as on March 31, 2015, will acquire the minimum qualifications within a period of four years i.e. by March 31, 2019.

The government has brought this bill in order to let these teachers complete Bachelor of Education (B.Ed.) and other professional degrees.

Under a scheme ‘Swayam Prabha’, teachers will not only be trained offline but also online and even through direct-to- home (DTH) television channels.

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