April 20, 2024

Indian state of Kerala may debate euthanasia

Proposed by law reform commission
A law reform commission in the Indian state of Kerala has recommended the legalisation of euthanasia and assisted suicide. “Life is sacred, but intense pain with no relief in sight is a torture which negates the meaning of existence,” said the commission, headed by a former Supreme Court judge, V.R. Krishna Iyer.

The commission argues that: “The victim of suffering and his closest relatives, after taking responsible medical opinion about irrecoverability of pain-free normality, create the right to euthanasia. Solace, compassion, justice and humanism make euthanasia a legally permissible farewell to life in its misery and desperation.” It also wants to delete Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code, which makes suicide an offence.

Although the proposals are headline-grabbing, they appear to have little chance of passing. According to the Calcutta Telegraph, the proposal “runs counter to a host of Supreme Court rulings”. In one case, Naresh Marotrao Sakhre versus Union of India, the court declared: “Euthanasia or mercy killing is nothing but homicide whatever the circumstances in which it is effected.” Kerala has the highest literacy rates in India (about 90%) and has a Marxist government. ~ AsiaNews, Jan 8; Calcutta Telegraph, Sept 21