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Day 3- Ques-Ans

The Health Ministry has invited views on passive euthanasia. What are your views on the same? Give a reasoned argument.

Aruna Shanbaug plea for mercy killing after more than four decades of suffering bring euthanasia debated widely in public forum. Euthanasia means a painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma. In Indian context we need not to promote because of following reasons-

  • Euthanasia is against the fundamental right under article 21 “right to live”.
  • Distortion of definition of euthanasia in practice is very much possible.
  • State is responsible to promote health facility for citizens. Any acceptance to euthanasia can be used as excuse to pass this responsibility.
  • It will be always debatable who can take a decision for mercy killing when patient is not in position to give his consent.
  • It can be misused as a shortcut to pass the responsibility especially when aged people or other medically crippled people need take care.
  • Supreme Court acknowledged the fact that Indian society at large is not yet ready to decide on such sensitive issue.
  • Medical science is evolving every day. Diseases which could not be cured 5 years back today we have answer for them. Euthanasia closes door for any such possibility of patient treatment in long run.

Beyond doubt it is a emotional issue and number of reasons can be listed for its acceptance but the bigger question for our nations is does our society at large has such awareness to debate, discuss, and take decision on once life and death. Euthanasia is a possibility which day will come one day but that day is not today for India.

 Defamation law as it stands can lead to a chilling effect on the publication of free and independent news. The Government and the Judiciary should reconsider their support to criminalizing defamation. Critically examine the statements in light of the violence committed against two journalists recently.

Subramanium Swamy Vs union of India case of criminal defamation is one of the most debated cases in recent period because it has challenged one the oldest speech restrictive law- criminal defamation under IPC section 499 and 500.

Criminal defamation law need to be consider by Supreme Court and government because

  • It violates the fundamental right under article 19 “right of speech”
  • It is simply legacy of colonial rule in India.
  • It restricts the space for criticizing the wrong government policies, politicians, and bureaucrats.
  • At international level many developed nations like Britain, France, and others has already throw out such law.
  • It gives excess power to state against individual and so result is restriction of free speech of individual, media, and propagators of different ideological thought.

However government and Supreme Court still justified defamation law on following grounds

  • Reputation of individual is matter of “right of life” under article 21 which is more important than right of speech under article 19 (1).
  • Media in different forms is getting powerful with every passing day need to have reasonable restriction while disseminating information and cannot be allowed to defame anyone.
  • Other countries law cannot be copy paste in India because of much socio economic differences.

Criminal defamation law is legacy of colonial rule and it is more in news for wrong reasons than right. It can be misuse to crush truth by independent media, stuck down voice of poor who shout for their rights against state, and even when one give any political speech.  So it is the time when government and highest court need to reconsider its decision on criminal defamation law.



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