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SC Allows ‘Living Will’ Of Terminally Ill Persons

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Supreme Court of India.
  • SC allows living will for the terminally ill patients
  • SC says the person has ‘right to die with dignity’
  • In a living will, a  person can choose not to prolong his or her life using artificial means

The Supreme Court on Friday said a person has the “right to die with dignity” and can make an advance “living will” authorising the withdrawal of life support system if in medical view he has reached an irreversible stage of terminal illness.

While allowing a person to make the advance directive or living will, a five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra, however, attached strict conditions for executing the “will” made by a person in his normal state of health and mind.

Supreme court give terminally ill patients the 'living will''
Supreme court give terminally ill patients the ‘living will”

In the living will, a person can state in advance that his or her life should not be prolonged with a ventilator or artificial support system. The bench, also including judges A.K. Sikri, A.M. Khanwilkar, D.Y. Chandrachud and Ashok Bhushan, laid down guidelines on who would execute the will and how the nod for passive euthanasia would be granted by the medical board.

Recognising the “right to die with dignity”, the court permitted a person to draft in advance a living will in case she/he slips into an incurable condition. “To deprive an individual of dignity at the end of life is to deprive him of meaningful existence,” said Justice Chandrachud while allowing the living will for passive euthanasia.

Also Read: Ethical Dispute Erupts Over Euthanasia Rules

The court said the life support can be removed only after the statutory medical board declares the patient to be incurable. The bench said its guidelines and directives should remain in force till a legislation was brought to deal with the issue.

“Life and death are inseparable. Bodies involve continuous change but mind remains constant… Death represents culmination of life… Freedom, liberty are core of meaningful life,” Justice Chandrachud said. The court pronounced four separate but concurring judgements.

The person will have right to not prolong his or her by using artificial means. Wikimedia Commons
The person will have right to not prolong his or her by using artificial means. Wikimedia Commons

The court’s verdict came on a plea filed in 2005 by an NGO Common Cause seeking the right to make a living will authorising the withdrawal of life support system in the event of the will-makers reaching an irreversible vegetative state.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, had said that since a patient under coma cannot express his/her wish, law should allow him/her to put it down in writing in advance that he/she should not be tortured. In the absence of a law authorising doctors to do so, they keep incurable patients on life support, he said. IANS

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Know About this New Law in Illinois that Allows People to Buy Marijuana Legally

Illinois becomes latest US state to legalize recreational pot

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Recreational marijuana sales in Illinois in Chicago
Customer Elise Swopes makes a purchase at Sunnyside Marijuana Dispensary. VOA

Illinois started the new year on a high note Wednesday, becoming the latest U.S. state to legalize recreational marijuana as the governor pardoned thousands for past low-level cannabis convictions.

The Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act will allow residents 21 and older to legally purchase marijuana and will expunge thousands of individuals’ criminal convictions throughout the state.

“We are restoring rights to many tens of thousands of Illinoisans. We are bringing regulation and safety to a previously unsafe and illegal market. And we are creating a new industry that puts equity at its very core,” Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.

On Tuesday night, Pritzker granted 11,017 pardons for people with low-level cannabis convictions, the first round of a planned total of more than 700,000.

According to the statement, the new law will use 25 percent of the state’s cannabis revenue to help “the communities hit hardest” by the earlier crackdown on marijuana.

“Today we took another step toward justice, as we continue to address the failed war on drugs and the disproportionate impact it had on communities of color,” Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx said in the statement.

Illinois residents age 21 and older will now be allowed to legally possess 30 grams of cannabis, five grams of cannabis concentrate or 500 milligrams of THC — the main active ingredient of cannabis — contained in a cannabis-infused product.

Non-residents are allowed to carry 15 grams of cannabis under the bill, which will also create a licensed growing and dispensary system.

Marijuana Illinois
A long line of people brave the cold as they wait to be the first in Illinois to purchase recreational marijuana at Sunnyside dispensary . VOA

CDC study

Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, along with Washington, D.C. Thirty-four states and the federal capital permit medical cannabis treatment.

But the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration still considers marijuana a dangerous substance alongside LSD and heroin.

A study by the federal Centers for Disease Control published in August found that states that legalize recreational marijuana see a reduction of at least 20 percent in fatalities linked to opioid overdoses.

Also Read- 30% Working Professionals Suffer From Mental Health Issues: Study

Marijuana legalization has also been shown to improve a state’s economic activity, creating jobs and bringing in new tax revenue. (VOA)