What Led To Supreme Court Recognising 'Living Will': A 10-Point Timeline

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What Led To Supreme Court Recognising 'Living Will': A 10-Point Timeline

Passive euthanasia: Supreme Court recognizes a persons right to choose death over life support

New Delhi:  A terminally ill person can make a 'living will', giving his permission to withdraw life support system if doctors think he has reached an irreversible stage. The verdict of the five-judge Constitution Bench, headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, attached strict conditions for executing a 'living will', saying it has to be made by the person in "his normal state of health and mind". The court also specified who would be eligible to execute the will, when he slips into an incurable condition.
A look at the 10-point timeline of what led to the landmark verdict
  1. May 11, 2005: Non-profit group Common Cause files petition, seeks Supreme Court permission to allow terminally ill persons to make a 'living will' for passive euthanasia
  2. Jan 16, 2006: Supreme Court asks Delhi Medical Council to intervene and seeks its opinion on passive euthanasia.
  3. April 28, 2006: Law Commission suggests a draft bill on passive euthanasia, says pleas on passive euthanasia be made in High Courts, which should decide after taking expert opinion.
  4. March 7, 2011: Supreme Court, on a plea on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, allows passive euthanasia 
  5. January 23, 2014: A three-judge bench headed by then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam starts final hearing in the case
  6. February 25, 2014: Supreme Court cites inconsistencies in earlier verdicts on passive euthanasia including the one given in the Aruna Shanbaug case, refers case to a Constitution bench.
  7. February 15, 2016: Centre says it is deliberating on the legality and feasibility of passive euthanasia
  8. July 15, 2014: Five-judge Constitution bench starts hearing on the plea, issues notices to states on opinion
  9. October 11, 2017: Five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra hears arguments and reserves verdict
  10. March 9, 2018: Supreme Court recognises 'living will' made by terminally ill patients for passive euthanasia, lays down guidelines on procedures


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