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Australian Journal of Asian Law

Abstract from Volume 6 No 2 (2004)

The Right to Die: The Indian Experience

Abhik Majumdar BA, LLB (National Law School of Indian University), Advocate, New Delhi.

The legality of suicide has radically gained in significance in recent years. Changing attitudes towards suicide, and the legal legitimacy they have received, exemplify how legal systems have sought to reconcile traditional legal paradigms with changing values. This is especially true of nations that have only recently gained independence. Most such nations continue to rely on laws and legal systems born of their colonial past. Some, and India is a case in point, are presently striving to move beyond their colonial underpinnings. How such systems interpret the right to die provide us with unparalleled insights into this process. This is because colonial legal paradigms treated suicide as immoral or sinful. Consequently, any recognition given to the right to die is necessarily in counterpoint to colonial doctrines. This article examines how Indian courts have construed this right to die. It focuses on the strategies adopted in the course of this construction, as well as its larger consequences.

(2004) 6(2) Asian Law 157
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