Rights protected and guaranteed under the constitutional framework are the fulcrum of a democratic and free society, Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra has said.
Addressing the Dr Patangrao Kadam memorial lecture in Pune on Saturday, the chief justice said that if an individual has the right to live he also has the right to die with dignity.
Justice Misra was addressing law students of Bharti University on "Balancing of Rights".
"We have a constitutional democracy and it is conceived with a singular and sole mission and purpose of securing its citizenry's rights and liberties which foster and strengthen the spirit and growth of the development ofthe society," Justice Misra said.
He said, "Rights protected and guaranteed under the constitutional framework are the fulcrum of any democratic and free society. We have the right and we must exercise the right within the constitutional parameters".
The CJI said interests are recognised and protected by a rule of justice. "If the rule of justice collapses, the rule of law automatically collapses".
Referring to the landmark judgement of the top court on passive euthanasia, Justice Misra said euthanasia is a difficult situation but the Supreme Court dealt with the issue because "if an individual has the right to live he also has the right to die with dignity".
He said a few western countries are still struggling to deal with the issue of euthanasia.
In the verdict delivered in March this year, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by the CJI had recognised 'living will' made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia.
The bench had said passive euthanasia and advance living will are "permissible".
Passive euthanasia is a condition where there is withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten the death of a terminally-ill patient.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Supreme Court judge A M Khanwilkar and acting Chief Justice of Bombay High Court Justice Naresh Patil were also present.