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A push for Advance Care Directives – OPINION – The Hindu

  • The petition on Article 21 and a patient’s medical care
  • In India, the law is not clear as to when a person really dies.
  • Section 46 of the Indian Penal Code defines ‘death’ as the ‘death of a human being’.
  • Section 2(b) of the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 does not recognise brain stem deaths. So, hospital authorities continue to sustain the patient till his heart ceases to beat.
  • ut the Transplantation of Human Organs Act, 1994 says that if a person is willing to donate his organs, his brain stem death is certified and recognised.
  • Four petitioners who are professionals have moved the Supreme Court for the right of a person to plan the course of his own treatment or Advance Care Directives, to avoid being subjected to any kind of medical treatment which violates both physical and personal dignity during the last moments of life.
  • The proposed Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill which was put up for public comments has not been finalised or presented before Parliament till date.
  • But the draft law only addresses the issue of euthanasia and not the right of a person to refuse treatment under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.
  • The petitioners argued how the fundamental right to choose one’s medical treatment or even to decide to deny oneself any treatment is confused with euthanasia or other forms of attempts to suicide. “

The scale of progress, so far – OPINION – The Hindu

  • Is the process of a voluntary national review of Agenda 2030 helpful?
  • Agenda 2030, a comprehensive development agenda, was adopted in the United Nations General Assembly by member states on September 25, 2015.
  • It is ambitious enough to address several socioeconomic concerns and make the development process inclusive.
  • However, since it’s not binding on member nations, there is apprehension that it may end up becoming another of the Millennium Development Goals, which were only partially achieved.
  • The UN website says: “The voluntary national reviews aim to facilitate the sharing of experiences, including successes, challenges and lessons learned, with a view to accelerating the implementation of the 2030 Agenda.” In 2016, 22 presented their performance review on sustainable development goals (SDGs). This year, 44 nations including India have volunteered
  • The process in India
  • In India, the process is led by NITI Aayog, Research and Information System for Developing Countries, a think tank attached to Ministry of External Affairs, and the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
  • Civil society is anxious as it wonders whether it will have a say in the official VNR report.
  • Consultations on the larger agenda of SDGs and on particular themes such as gender are being held by inviting civil society, private groups and other stakeholders at the national and State levels.
  • The outcome will be fed to the process of making the VNR. It is understood that the government will highlight its key achievements such as Swachh Bharat, financial inclusion, etc. The government has already identified existing programmes and policies which are linked to different goals under SDGs.
  • It’s not clear whether the inputs of civil society organisations (CSO) will be part of the government report or will form an annexure. However, Indian civil society led by Wada Na Todo Abhiyan (WNTA) — an umbrella CSOs’ platform — has geared up for a shadow report on SDGs.