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VOLUME 9 , ISSUE 2 ( April, 2005 ) > List of Articles

ISCCM Position

The constitutional and legal provisions in Indian law for limiting life support

R. K. Mani, S. Balakrishnan

Citation Information : Mani RK, Balakrishnan S. The constitutional and legal provisions in Indian law for limiting life support. Indian J Crit Care Med 2005; 9 (2):108-114.

DOI: 10.4103/0972-5229.17098

License: CC BY-ND 3.0

Published Online: 01-04-2005

Copyright Statement:  Copyright © 2005; Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) Ltd.


Abstract

The absence of guidelines for withdrawal and withholding of life support in Indian law is perceived to be the most important obstacle to the practice of appropriate end of life care. In addition, physicians appear to be apprehensive about their civil or criminal liability when called upon to make decisions to limit life-supporting therapies. The following account explores the existing Constitutional and legal provisions that can reasonably be used by physicians in their defence. The article provides illustrative case histories that bring to focus the ethical dilemmas commonly faced by the physician. It also spells out the need for new legislation specifically addressing end-of-life issues.


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  1. The Constitution of India: Articles 21 & 14.
  2. Indian Penal Code: Sections 309; 306; 76; 81; 88.
  3. Supreme Court Judgments in: P.Rathinum vs. Union of India 1994 (3) SCC 394.
  4. Gian Kaur vs. State of Punjab 1996 (2) SCC 648.
  5. Dr. LB Joshi vs. TB Godbole AIR 1969 SC 128; 1969 (1) SCR 206.
  6. In: Black HC. editor. Black′s The Consumer Law Dictionary. 6th edn. West Publishing Co: 1991. p. 554.
  7. Protection Act 1986: Section 2 (1) (g) & 2 (1) (o)
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