Fundamental Right Current Affairs

Supreme Court allows passive euthanasia, living will

The Supreme Court (SC) allowed passive euthanasia and right to give advance medical directives or ‘Living Wills’, stating that human beings have the right to die with dignity as part of fundamental right, but made sure to set out strict guidelines that will govern when it is permitted.

The ruling was given by five-judge Constitution Bench led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra. Passive euthanasia is act of withdrawing or withholding medical support to dying patient who has no hope for revival or cure.

SC Ruling

Fundamental right to life and dignity under Article 21 of Constitution includes right to die with dignity. Dignity is lost if man is allowed or forced to undergo pain and suffering because of unwarranted medical support.

It distinguished passive euthanasia from suicide and active euthanasia. It called passive euthanasia as mere acceleration of inevitable conclusion. It concluded that Active euthanasia is unlawful. It held that suicide involves overt acts which culminate in unnatural death.

Valid ‘Living Will’ facilitates passive euthanasia and failure to legally recognise advance medical directive inconveniences right to smoothen dying process. In cases of terminally ill or permanently vegetative state patients, where there is no hope for revival, priority should be given to Living Wills and right of self-determination.

It also laid down principles for execution of advance directives and spelt out guidelines and safeguards to give effect to passive euthanasia. The directive and guidelines shall remain in force till Parliament brings a legislation in the field.

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Aadhar not mandatory for availing welfare schemes of Government: SC

The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that Aadhar card is not mandatory for availing benefits of various welfare schemes of the government.

Ruling in this regard was given by three-judge Constitution bench of SC while on hearing a batch of petitions challenging the Aadhar scheme.

Supreme Court ruling

  • Not mandatorily for citizens to have Aadhar card.
  • The card will not be mandatory for availing facilities Public Distribution Scheme (PDS), kerosene and LPG distribution system.
  • Barred the government authorities from sharing personal biometric data collected for enrollment under the scheme.
  • Union Government shall give wide publicity through print and electronic media that the card is not mandatory to avail the schemes.
  • Restrained Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) from sharing any personal biometric details of Aadhar cardholders with anyone. However it can be shared in case of criminal investigation monitored or mandated by a court order.

It should be noted that Constitution bench of SC will decide the larger question of whether right to privacy was a fundamental right and if collecting biometric data for preparing Aadhar cards infringed an individual’s privacy in the another ruling.

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