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The Will to Die: Everything on Euthanasia & Living Will, Explained

Let’s understand the difference between passive and active euthanasia and where living will comes in.

2 min read

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The Supreme Court judgment on passive euthanasia and living will has got a lot of people very interested in the entire debate surrounding it. There are a barrage of questions as people try to understand whether they have a right to die when they want to. But it’s not that easy.

So, let’s understand what these different terms mean and what they imply.

Passive euthanasia under special circumstances was already made legal in 2011. But now, the court confirmed that the right to die with dignity is a fundamental right and sanctioned the writing of a living will.

Here are the answers to some FAQs (frequently asked questions).

1. So now, can a person who wants to die, just simply go ahead and do that legally?

Euthanasia is when a terminally-ill patient wants to end their life. And it’s of two types, passive euthanasia and active euthanasia.

2. And what is the difference between active and passive euthanasia?

Passive euthanasia is when you let a patient die, a patient who is on complete life support or in a vegetative state and cannot live without medical treatment. So, you withdraw that medical support. And active euthanasia is when you actively end the life of a terminally-ill patient.

3. So, if I’m terminally-ill, I can decide that i just want to die today?

No, that’s not legal yet, that’s active euthanasia. What you can do is that you can write a will which says that when I reach an irreversible stage where I’m only alive because of medical support, pull the plug and let me die.

4. Then what is living will and where does that come from?

Living will is a document that a person writes, in his normal state of mind, seeking passive euthanasia if he or she reaches an irreversible vegetative state, in case of terminal illness.

Therefore, this living will that the Supreme Court has sanctioned is for passive euthanasia.

If you’ve got any more doubts, comment in the section below or write to us at

Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam
Shiv Kumar Maurya

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