Is right to die a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution?
In P.Rathinam v. Union of India, it was held by the Supreme Court that a person cannot be forced to enjoy right to life to his detriment, disadvantage or disliking. The Court argued that the word ‘life’ in Article 21 means right to live with human dignity and “the same does not merely connote continued drudgery. Thus, the Court concluded that the “right to live of which Article 21 speaks of can be said bring in its trail the right not to live a forced life.
However, the above was a radical view and could not last for long. The Rathinam ruling came to be reviewed by a full bench of the Court in Gian Kaur v. State of Punjab. The Court has ruled inGian Kaur that Article 21 is a provision guaranteeing protection of life and personal liberty and by no stretch of imagination can extinction of read to be included in “protection of life”. The Court further observed that “Right to life” is a natural right embodied in Article 21 and an unnatural termination or extinction of life is incompatible and inconsistent with the concept of ‘right to life”.