Hindu Editorial Analysis 26th January 2018

Hindu Editorial Analysis 26th January 2018 by Dailygkaffairs


Context  :-

  • Education is a fundamental right for those aged between 6 and 14 years, but there has hardly been a coordinated effort to make the teachers better who teach these children.
  • For years, certain institutions which impart teacher training courses have failed to get the necessary recognition from the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
  • The future of those who graduate from such institutions, which are funded by the Central/ State government or Union Territory administration concerned, has been in jeopardy.

NCTE Act 1993 :-

  • Section 14 of the 1993 Act provides that every institution offering a teacher education course has to obtain recognition from the Regional Committee.
  • Section 15 says that any recognised institution that intends to start any new course or training in teacher education has to obtain permission from the Regional Committee concerned.
  • However, certain institutions failed to obtain recognition and permission from the Council, though they continued to admit students for teacher education and training courses.

NCTE (Amendment) Bill 2017 :-

  • The NCTE (Amendment) Bill, 2017 mainly focuses on teachers.
  • It will try to make those studying in such institutions, or those who have graduated from such institutions, eligible for teachers’ jobs.
  • It seeks to amend the provisions of the NCTE Act, 1993, which was enacted to provide for the establishment of a NCTE.
  • The Bill introduces a one-time measure to grant retrospective recognition or permission to such institutions or courses, by suitably amending Sections 14 and 15 of the 1993 Act.
  • The amendments include granting retrospective recognition to institutions funded by the Central or State government or the Union Territory administration, and as may be notified by the Central government, which offered teacher education courses on or after the appointed day till the academic year 2017-2018.
  • It proposes to amend Section 15 to grant retrospective permission to the new course or training in teacher education offered by the institutions, as may be notified by the Central government, on or after the appointed day till the academic year 2017-18.



Right to Life :-

  • Article 21 of the Constitution gives the right to life & The right to life includes the right to live with dignity. When you are in pain, that dignity is lost and you are forced to rely on your kith and kin for support.
  • Section 309 of the Indian Penal Code prescribes punishment for attempting suicide. It is an offence, but it should not be one. You could die, but if you survive, you should get counselling, not go to jail.

Passive Euthanasia came in :-

  • The path-breaking judgment in Aruna Shanbaug v. Union of India (2011) brought the issue of euthanasia into the public domain. 
  • The 2011 judgment helped to push the debate to the extent of permitting passive euthanasia for terminally ill patients under the strict supervision of the High Court, in consultation with a team of doctors treating the terminally ill patient.
  • Passive euthanasia means withdrawing life support to induce death in a natural way. In contrast, active euthanasia means injecting legal drugs to induce death.

Passive euthanasia & its procedure :-

  • Doctors encounter this dilemma when they faced terminally ill patients, they know that it is an exercise in futility to use resources to keep the person alive. In such cases, Doctors talk about passive euthanasia with the concurrence of family members.
  • Passive euthanasia is partly permitted and implies withdrawing life support when a person is not mentally alert.

Procedure :-

  • Mental alertness is assessed by the Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score, which tells us the level of consciousness. In normal individuals, the score is 15, and for those who are brain dead, it is three.
  • A GCS score of less than eight means that the patient is not conscious, her airway is threatened, and her chances of recovery are less.
  • But if the GCS score is three, the possibility of recovery is practically zero unless there is a miracle. I have not seen such miracles happening in clinical practice.
  • In some developed countries, donations after cardiac deaths are increasing. Seventy percent of organ donations come from such patients. They are done in a fully controlled environment where some patients could also be mentally alert.
  • The question is the cost of care and who should bear the cost. If the condition is such that survival is impossible, then passive euthanasia is allowed.
  • Even the courts have ruled that life support can be withdrawn only when the chances of return to life are negligible.

Misuse of Euthanasia :-

Euthanasia cannot be allowed or legalised because the probability of its misuse — whether it is demanded for property, money, or because of animosity among family members — is very high.

No procedure :-

  • The Legal Problem is the fact that there exists no legislation laying down the procedure to permit a person to take her own life.

Which results into no. of petitions regarding :-

  • People are going to courts to seek ‘permission’ to end their own lives, or the lives of others over whom they have some control.
  • For euthanasia filed by persons who do not wish to live, or by relatives on behalf of those who suffer extreme pain or incurable affliction.
  • Petitions also extend to asking for permission to terminate unwanted, accidental or dangerous pregnancies which, interestingly, relate to the rights of an unborn person to enter life itself.

Judiciary become Arbiters :-

  • The courts become arbiters of the fate of such people. What happens now is that the courts are called upon to decide, without having the benefit of legislation to guide their decision-making.
  • They rely on facts and the call of their conscience. Such ad hoc decisions suffer from arbitrariness and uncertainty — two qualities that make for bad law.

The right to choice :-

  • Taking away life is often related to the inability of the affected or concerned individual to live with dignity.  For instance, thousands of farmers in Vidarbha took their lives when faced with a dehumanising existence. The right to life under Article 21 has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as the right to live with dignity.
  • When a person chooses to end her life because she can no longer live with dignity, the question to be asked is not whether she can waive her constitutional right to life, but whether she has a right to choice.
  • The debate extends to whether the fundamental right to life extends to the right to choice, because, after all, there is no overt act required to be performed to live life.

Should we allow living wills?

  • So far, the debate has been confined only to people who are terminally ill. Countries like Canada have given legal recognition to the concept of a “living will”, where people lay down directives in advance on how they should be treated if they end up in a vegetative state. Now an important question before the courts is whether the law should allow living wills.
  • The Supreme Court is likely to take a decision on living wills in 2018, even as a draft Bill on withdrawal of life support to patients with terminal illness is under consideration.
  • The Bill, however, deals only with terminal illness.




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