Indian court allows passive euthanasia

In a landmark verdict, India's Supreme Court has ruled individuals have a right to die with dignity, allowing passive euthanasia.

The new rules also permit individuals to draft a 'living will' specifying they not be put on life support if they slip into an incurable coma.

The legislation would be applicable only to the terminally ill who have no hope of recovery.

Guidelines issued by the five-judge bench will be in place until the federal government enacts a law on mercy killing or passive euthanasia.

"The Supreme Court has delivered an important and historic decision," said lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who moved the petition on behalf of non-profit organisation Common Cause.

The group sought legal recognition for the living will, saying the government was opposed to the concept and had not included it in its draft laws on passive euthanasia.

In 2011, the Supreme Court rejected a petition for a mercy killing but ruled that passive euthanasia was allowed in some cases.

Passive euthanasia involves stopping medical treatment with the deliberate intention to hasten the death of a terminally ill patient.

Active euthanasia, in which death is brought about by an act such administering a lethal injection, remains illegal in India.

Reuters / Newshub.