THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Senior Kerala priests today said the Supreme Court judgment, allowing terminally-ill patients passive euthanasia with conditions, could be misused.
Terming it "unfortunate and condemnable", Kerala Catholic Bishop Conference president Archbishop Soosa Paikam said the verdict was "painful" and would have disastrous consequences.
"The right of life is in the hands of God. It was not acceptable for anyone who believes in humanity to kill a person suffering from old age or sickness due to sympathy," he said.
The order that stipulates guidelines to undergo passive euthanasia could be misused, Paikam said.
People suffering from old-age and sickness should be taken care and protected to allow them a natural death, he said.
In Kochi, a senior priest of the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church said legal recognition of 'living will' made by terminally-ill patients for passive euthanasia is against the Indian culture.
Father Paul Thelakkat, editor of the church-run Sathyadeepam magazine, said the church apprehends that the verdict could be misused as a right of dignified killing of terminally ill patients.
"No one has the right to put an end to human life. The ultimate aim of the medical science is to save life from death. If we move away from this principle, there would be far-reaching repercussions in our society," he told PTI.
Thelakkat, who was also a former spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church, claimed that such laws were being widely misused in some developed countries, where doctors used it as a "tool to eliminate people."
"In view of the Supreme Court verdict, I apprehend such a situation here also. All people have the right to lead a dignified natural life and to have a dignified natural death. Our stand is very clear. Killings of people should not be allowed," he said.
A five-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) Dipak Misra today said passive euthanasia and advance living will are "permissible".
According to Thelakkat, the Supreme Court may have laid down procedures to be followed for executing euthanasia but that it could be misused in a country like India.
"Life is sacred. It should have a dignified natural end. No one should be allowed to douse it. We have a history of misusing the laws made for human good. I apprehend that this law will also be subjected to such a misuse," he said.
"This verdict is against the Indian culture which underlines the right to life," Thelakkat said.
India should desist from implementing euthanasia, he said, adding, this has become a "fashion" in some countries.