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A Conspicuous Yet Nascent Debate on Euthanasia in Our Country

Euthanasia has assumed phenomenal importance of late, in fact a debate whether it should be recognized as a right or not has been going on for quite sometime in India, some organizational moves and legislative measures are also in this regard. There isn't one dimension to this debate behind euthanasia or mercy killing as it is popularly called. Sociological, religious and practical issues cripple a proper addressing to its cause. Thus its legal response presupposes a broad categorization of such issues affecting its understanding.

Euthanasia is not something new or unknown to mankind. In ancient Greece and Rome, helping others to put end to their lives was permitted in certain situations. Ancient Indian philosophical tradition also justifies the idea of a man willing his own death. As per Hindu mythology Lord Rama and his brothers took 'jal samadhi' in River Saryu near Ayodhya. Ancient Indian history also tells that Lord Buddha and Lord Mahavir attained death by seeking it. At present we do not have a particular legislation w.r.t. euthanasia but sooner or later we will face cases of people demanding euthanasia.



Aruna Shanbaug has been in coma for years now. The doctors have said there is no chance of recovery at all. In such circumstances it is justifiable to permit euthanasia for the patient. Here, it is not about prolonging life but prolonging death.

Although I believe that if a life of a person has reached a point such that the quality of life has been compromised beyond an acceptable level for them, then they ought to be allowed to end their life in whatever manner they prefer so as to mitigate their sufferings. But in a country like ours, where we do not have a particular legislation on euthanasia, and where the debate on euthanasia in in nascent stage, legalization of euthanasia would not really be a good idea because of following reasons:

1) Indian society which is driven by religion will not accept the concept of euthanasia as the religious scriptures defy the very concept of it.

2) On the day-to-day basis we get to hear truckloads of cases relating to matrimonial and property disputes, so if euthanasia is granted it could become a tool to attain insignificant needs.

3) The problem of abject poverty which is prevailing in India would force the people to resort to euthanasia and escape from pecuniary difficulties of medication. 

4) Commercialization of euthanasia may take place as in the case of abortion.

5) In some cases old and the destitute are considered as burden and if euthanasia is legalized, then people may misuse this concept to shove off their responsibilities towards their family member.

So even if in near future we get to have an appropriate legislation on euthanasia then stringent laws should be framed so that euthanasia does not become a substitute for suicide or murder.

Read: "My Trip To The Oldest Democracy Of The World- Malana"



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