Analysis of the Medical Treatment of Terminally ill Patients Bill 2016

Reports by Vidhi Aid · January 27, 2017
Author(s): Dhvani Mehta, David Staunton, Nivedita Saksena, Shreya Garg and Yashaswini Mittal

In a petition currently before the Supreme Court to determine the legality of advance directives, the government has assured the Court that it will pass a legislation regulating the withdrawal of life saving treatment from terminally ill patients. Following this, and based on the recommendations of the Law Commission of India, the government solicited comments from the public on a draft Medical Treatment of Terminally-Ill Patients (Protection of Patients and Medical Practitioners) Bill.

To help inform the debate on this issue, we will be publishing a series of reports on end-of-life medical care and decision making. In the first report in the series, we examine this Bill, assessing its provisions against a set of principles that ought to govern such situations. This includes the right to die with dignity, patient autonomy and the ability to exercise it, the primacy of the patients best interests, communication and consultation between the medical practitioner, the patient, and the patient’s kin as well as minimising judicial intervention in end-of-life decision making.

Based on our analysis, we suggest a way forward for current efforts at drafting an effective and rights-respecting legislation, that also takes into account the ability of doctors to make medically sound decisions in the best interests of the patient.

Download the full report on the MTTP Bill


About Dhvani Mehta:

Dr. Dhvani Mehta {B.L.S. LL.B. (University of Mumbai); BCL, D.Phil (Oxon)} is a Senior Resident Fellow and Team Lead of the Vidhi Aid initiative, where she works on environmental and health regulation, medical ethics and the right to education. She has worked specifically on research projects on environmental clearances, the National Green Tribunal, organ transplant laws, end of life care, and pharmaceutical and medical device regulation. She has appeared in the Supreme Court of India in petitions filed by Vidhi on advance medical directives and discrimination against persons affected by leprosy. She has authored chapters on the implementation of environmental judgments and healthcare corruption in India. Dhvani read for a doctoral degree at the University of Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship, where she was Chairperson of Oxford Pro Bono Publico and an editor of the Oxford Human Rights Hub blog. Her doctoral thesis explores the idea of an environmental rule of law in India and was cited by the Supreme Court of India.


About David Staunton:


About Nivedita Saksena:


About Shreya Garg:


About Yashaswini Mittal: