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In the landmark judgment titled as “Common Cause versus Union of India, 2018 (5) SCC 1 passed by the Hon’ble Constitution Bench of 4 Judges of the Supreme Court of India, has discussed about various types of euthanasia which are:
In common parlance, euthanasia can be of three types, namely, ‘voluntary euthanasia’ which means killing at the request of a person killed which is to be distinguished from ‘non-voluntary euthanasia’, where the person killed is not capable of either making or refusing to make such a request. Second type of euthanasia would be involuntary euthanasia where the person killed is capable of making such a request but has not done so 11. These terms can be described as under:
- Voluntary Euthanasia: People concerned to legalize the termination of life on medical grounds have always concentrated on Voluntary Euthanasia (this implies that the patient specifically requests that his life be ended.) It is generally agreed that the request must come from someone who is either; (a) in intolerable pain or (b) who is suffering from an illness which is agreed as being terminal. It may be prior to the development of the illness in question or during its course. In either case it must not result from any pressure from relatives or those who have the patients in their care. Both active and passive euthanasia can be termed as forms of voluntary euthanasia.
- Non-Voluntary Euthanasia: Seen by some as sub-variety of voluntary euthanasia. This involves the death, ostensibly for his own good, of someone who cannot express any views on the matter and who must, therefore, use some sort of proxy request 11 These definitions of voluntary, non-voluntary and involuntary euthanasia correspond to those employed by the House of Lords Select Committee on Medical Ethics (Walton Committee).