In Carter vs. Canada, 2015, the Canadian Supreme Court reversed its own earlier decision in the Sue Rodriguez case, 1993.
In the earlier decision by a 5-4 majority the Court had refused to validate physician assisted death, but in the recent unanimous decision given in February this year it has held the absolute prohibition against it to be invalid.
Physician assisted death is a form of active euthanasia ( see my judgment in Aruna Shanbaug vs. Union of India ). It terminates the life of a terminally ill person in horrible agony with no known treatment available by a lethal injection.
As regards the apprehensions that there are dangers in this, or that the person may give consent in a moment of weakness, the Court said that adequate safeguards can be made by Parliament for this, but total prohibition was disproportionate.
The problem with this decision is that while holding physician assisted death valid, it has suspended the judgment for 12 months, during which period the Canadian Parliament should make a law on the subject. But what will happen to cases arising during this 12 month period ? Would it not have been better for the Canadian Supreme Court to have made a law, as we did in Aruna Shanbaug;s case, subject to some other law made later by Parliament ?