Petition In HC To Prevent Man From Travelling To Switzerland For Euthanasia

New Delhi: It’s not a plea that Indian courts deal with often.

A petition has been moved in Delhi High Court seeking orders to stop a man from travelling to Switzerland for euthanasia, or assisted suicide.

Filed by a family friend, the plea claims that a Noida-based 40-year-old man has obtained a Schengen visa by falsely informing authorities that he wants to travel to Belgium for medical treatment.

The petitioner has stated that the man concealed information that he will actually be travelling to Switzerland, via Belgium, for assisted suicide at Swiss-based firm Dignitas.

Due to lack of treatment, the man became “completely bed-bound, just able to walk a few steps”, the petition stated, adding that the patient has “emotionally forced” his family to take him to Switzerland for assisted euthanasia.

The patient suffers from Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) — a complex, debilitating, long-term neuro-inflammatory disease.

First diagnosed in 2014, the man had been receiving treatment at AIIMS Delhi. But after lockdown was announced post the COVID pandemic outbreak, treatment was disrupted as donors were no longer available.

As per the petition, the ailing person travelled to Switzerland earlier for preliminary interview with Swiss authorities and Dignitas to check whether he is eligible for the assisted suicide programme. Having got the green signal, he is planning to travel to Switzerland again for the assisted euthanasia.

Active euthanasia is not allowed by Indian law. However, Supreme Court accepted passive euthanasia and denial of medical treatment to prolong life in case of terminally ill patients in the Aruna Shanbaug case.

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