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Examining Law Commission's report on euthanasia: Centre to SC

The Centre in its recent affidavit said it has framed a legislation on the issue but would await the apex court's verdict on it.

PTI| Updated: Feb 05, 2016, 19:18 PM IST

New Delhi: The Law Commission's report favouring legalising of passive euthanasia with certain safeguards is being examined and a bill will be drafted thereafter, the government told the Supreme Court on Friday.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Justice A R Dave, which is awaiting the government's stand in its endeavour to examine a plea to legalise passive euthanasia by means of withdrawal of life support system to terminally-ill patients, was informed that on receiving the report from the Law Ministry, a Bill will be drafted.

The statement to this effect was made by Additional Solicitor General (ASG) P S Patwalia before the bench, which also comprises Justices Kurian Joseph, Shiva Kirti Singh, A K Goel and R F Nariman, which will also peruse the Centre's latest affidavit on the issue.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO Common Cause, which has filed the PIL for legalising passive euthanasia, said the affidavit "does not take us anywhere."

After a brief hearing, the ASG sought that the matter be deferred for a week so that the Law Ministry comes out with its stand on the Law Commission's report.

Accepting his request, the bench posted the next hearing on February 12.

The Centre in its recent affidavit said it has framed a legislation on the issue but would await the apex court's verdict on it.

"Based on the recommendations of the expert committee, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) has proposed formulation of legislation on passive euthanasia. The expert committee has further suggested certain changes in the draft bill.

"The committee has not agreed to active euthanasia since it has more potential for misuse and, as on date, it is prevalent in very few countries worldwide," the ASG said.

The apex court on January 15 had asked the government to make its stand clear in a reasonable time.

The law officer apprised the bench about the 241st report of the Law Commission which has stated that passive euthanasia should be allowed with certain safeguards and there was a proposed law -- Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patient (Protection of Patients and Medical Practioners) Bill, 2006.