Aruna Shanbaug and the right to die with dignity: the battle continues

RR Kishore

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2016.009


Abstract

Aruna Shanbaug’s protracted continuance in a persistent vegetative state (PVS) for nearly 42 years needs to be viewed seriously by all those who believe in a person’s inalienable right to dignity in dying. A terminally ill and/or incapacitated individual is a helpless person confronted with perpetual risk of intrusion in to his autonomy by the moral paternalists, owing to false notion of human virtues. Legislative inadequacy coupled with judicial heterogeneity has exposed the decision making process to unwarranted ambiguity. Misapplication of moral and juristic principles is a global challenge. 29-year-old Brittany Maynard’s recent act of ending her life by migrating from California to Oregon has ignited a fierce debate and nearly half of the states in the USA are contemplating enactment of death with dignity legislation. Across the Atlantic, the European Court of Human Rights judgment on June 5, 2015, endorsing Vincent Lambert’s right to end medical support, is a resounding affirmation of an individual’s right to die with dignity. This article is an attempt to explore various dimensions of one’s right to dignity in dying, in the global as well as the Indian context

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