Euthanasia issue sent to Constitution bench

The Supreme Court on Tuesday referred the issue of granting legal sanction to euthanasia to a Constitution bench for “an authoritative opinion”, after finding inconsistent views in its previous decisions with regard to the mercy-killing or withdrawing life support to terminally ill people.

Dealing with a PIL, a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice P Sathasivam said the Constitution bench could consider all aspects of law and could lay down exhaustive guidelines for the benefit of humanity as a whole.

“Considering the important question of the law involved, which needs to be reflected in light of social, legal, medical and constitutional perspective, it becomes extremely important to have a clear enunciation of law. Thus, in our cogent opinion, the question of the law involved requires careful consideration by a Constitution Bench of this court,” said the bench.

NGO Common Cause has urged the court to direct the Union government to formulate suitable procedures in consultation with state governments to ensure that those terminally ill could be allowed to die with dignity.

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