AID IN DYING BILL (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 – Social Justice)

News-CRUX-10     12th March 2024        
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Context: France recently sparked global debate over the choice versus life argument by enshrining abortion as a right in its Constitution, marking a significant policy shift.

Aid in Dying Bill

  • About: The bill targets individuals with incurable illnesses that will lead to death in the short- or middle-term, imposing strict conditions.
  • Options for Administration: Patients eligible under the bill can administer lethal medication themselves or appoint a chosen person or medical professional for assistance.
  • End-of-Life Relief: The bill aims to alleviate end-of-life suffering for individuals with incurable illnesses.
  • Age Restriction: The medical option is limited to adults, excluding those with certain psychiatric conditions and disorders like Alzheimer’s.
  • France's Position: If passed, France will align with European countries such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Spain, Switzerland, and Portugal in allowing euthanasia or assisted suicide.
  • Global Landscape: Australia, select states in the United States, and Japan have also legalized similar practices.
  • Confirmation and Assessment: Patients must reaffirm their decision within 48 hours, followed by a two-week medical team review before a verdict is reached.
  • Existing Laws: France currently permits passive euthanasia, wherein patients can opt for the removal of life support and receive continuous and deep sedation.


  • Definition: Euthanasia is defined as the hastening of death of a patient to prevent further sufferings.
  • Active Euthanasia: Active euthanasia refers to the physician deliberate act, usually the administration of lethal drugs, to end an incurably or terminally ill patient’s life.
  • Legal Status in India: A five-judge bench of the Supreme Court in Common Cause vs Union of India (2018) recognised a person’s right to die with dignity.

oTerminally ill persons can opt for passive euthanasia and execute a living will to refuse medical treatment.

oThe Court recognised the right to die with dignity as a fundamental right under Article 21 (Right to Life).

  • Legality of Active Euthanasia:
  • In India, active euthanasia is illegal.

oSection 309 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) deals with the attempt to commit suicide, and Section 306 deals with abetment of suicide, both punishable offenses.

oOnly those who are brain dead can be taken off life support with the help of family members.