The government does not favour bringing in a law on mercy killings, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Tuesday.

“The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare is not in favour of enacting the Bill [on mercy killing]. There is no proposal under consideration at this stage for making law on this subject,” Mr. Azad told the Rajya Sabha. The view of the Ministry has been conveyed to the Ministry of Law & Justice.

The Minister said the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors was against intentional or voluntary killing of a patient.

Mr. Azad also said progression of medical science to relieve pain, suffering, rehabilitation and treatment of so-called incurable diseases would suffer a setback, and an individual might wish to die at a certain point of time but his wish might be only a fleeting desire out of transient depression.

There might be psychological pressure and trauma to the medical officers who would be required to conduct withdrawal of life support.

The Supreme Court has already issued guidelines in this respect in the Aruna Shanbaug case that are to be treated as law.

The Supreme Court, while dismissing the plea for mercy killing of a Mumbai nurse, Aruna Ramachandra Shanbaug, laid down guidelines to process ‘passive euthanasia’ till Parliament passes a law, while making a clear distinction between ‘active euthanasia’, which means ending the life of a patient by injecting medication, and ‘passive euthanasia’, permitting to withdraw life support to a terminally ill patient.