The Supreme Court of India (SC) will start hearing the debate over the powers of Delhi Lieutenant Governor and Delhi government from October 10. According to a report by Indian Express, the Constitutional Bench of the apex court will take up five points including the demand to allow euthanasia for terminally ill patients. Referring to the issue, an official notice stated, “The matters which are to be heard by the Constitution bench consisting of five hon’ble judges will be listed with effect from Tuesday”.
Last year in August, Delhi High Court held LG as the administrative head of the National Capital Territory, which it said was still a union territory (UT). However, the Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP government had challenged this in SC stating that a democratically elected government cannot be subservient to the LG. Following the petition, the two-judge bench referred the matter to the five-judge bench saying that the issue relates some important questions of law and Constitution and needed to be decided.
The report stated that the apex court will also take up the issue of whether passive euthanasia can be provided to a terminally ill person with no chance of recovery.
Even this issue was referred to a Constitutional bench headed by the then Chief Justice of India P Sathasivam in February 2015. The petition was filed by an NGO called Common Cause which stated that passive euthanasia must be extended to patients whose medical condition had reached a point of no return.
Passive euthanasia refers to withdrawal of medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten a terminally ill-patient’s death. In a similar case, a five-judge SC bench heard the case of Gian Kaun vs State of Punjab in 1994 referring to euthanasia but did not arrive at any definitive conclusions on its validity.