The Medical Treatment of Terminally Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill

Bill is in draft stage and government has put it up in public domain for wider discussions on issue. It will give a patient the right to withhold medical treatment in case they are terminally ill.


  • Aruna Shanbaug case
  • SC directive to government in NGO Common Cause PIL case
  • 196th Law Commission report and an attempt to regulate euthanasia in 2006, which was later not adopted.

Key provisions of the bill:

  • Every competent patient, including minors aged above 16 years, has a right to take a decision and express the desire to the medical practitioner attending on her or him.
  • Such a decision will be binding on the medical practitioner. He or she has to inform the spouse, parents or any other close relative of the patient and desist from carrying out the decision for a period of three days after informing them.
  • The Bill provides protection to patients and doctors from any liability for withholding or withdrawing medical treatment and states that palliative care (pain management) can continue.
  • The Medical Council of India has been given the authority to formulate guidelines from time to time for the guidance of medical practitioners and might review and modify the guidelines periodically.
  • In case any patient is not competent enough to take a decision then his or her next of kin, including spouse, parents or sibling, can approach the High Court, which will have to take a decision within a period of one month.


  • Ambiguity in the concept of “living will” (Advance medical directive). Best practices in other nations laws not adopted here.
  • Bill distinguish between competent and incompetent patients thus violating Article 14 (Equality)

Related Notes:

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