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India: Supreme Court Reexamines The Vexed Issue Of Euthanasia!

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Euthanasia is derived from Greek meaning 'Happy Death' referring to the practice of intentionally ending life to avoid pain and suffering. There are various definitions of euthanasia with various interpretations leading to a complex variety of laws in different countries of the world. The most relevant definition for the present purpose could be 'painless inducement of death'. Patients who are only clinically alive or patients who are terminally ill with no hope of recovery are normally kept on life support system. Now the euthanasia law proposes to give the right of deciding about being on life support system to the related patients or families. Here more complexities crop up in terms of whether the concerned decision is basically 'voluntary euthanasia' or 'involuntary euthanasia'-the former referring to 'assisted suicide' and the latter to 'murder'. Besides, 'passive euthanasia' refers basically to withdrawing life support b