The Supreme Court has given legal sanction to passive euthanasia in a landmark verdict, permitting 'living will' by patients on withdrawing medical support if they slip into irreversible coma.
Following is the chronology of events related to today's landmark verdict by a five-judge Constitution bench, recognising 'living will' to be made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia:
May 11, 2005: SC takes note of PIL of NGO 'Common Cause' seeking nod to allow terminally-ill persons to execute a living will for passive euthanasia. It seeks the Centre's response on the plea which seeks declaration of 'right to die with dignity' as a Fundamental Right under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
Jan 16, 2006: SC allows Delhi Medical Council (DMC) to intervene and asks it to file documents on passive euthanasia.
Apr 28 2006: Law Commission suggests a draft bill on passive euthanasia and says such pleas be made to HCs which should decide after taking experts' views.
Jan 31, 2007: SC asks parties to file documents.
Mar 7, 2011: SC, on a separate plea on behalf of Aruna Shanbaug, allows passive euthanasia for the nurse lying in vegetative state at a hospital in Mumbai.
Jan 23, 2014: A three-judge bench led by then CJI P Sathasivam starts final hearing in the case.
Feb 11 2014: DMC files copy of proceedings of International Workshop for Policy Statement on Euthanasia in India and SC reserves verdict.
Feb 25: SC cites inconsistencies in earlier verdicts on passive euthanasia including the one given in the Shanbaug case and refers the PIL to a Constitution bench.
July 15: A five-judge bench commences hearing on the plea, issues notices to all states and UTs, and appoints senior advocate T R Andhyarujina as an amicus curiae. He dies during the pendency of the case.
Feb 15, 2016: Centre says that it is deliberating the issue.
Oct 11, 2017: Five-judge Constitution bench led by CJI Dipak Misra hears arguments and reserves the verdict.
March 9, 2018: SC recognises 'living will' made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia and lays down guidelines on procedures to be adopted for it.