MP HC | Right to bodily integrity calls for a permission to allow termination of pregnancy; Court may grant termination beyond 20 weeks

Madhya Pradesh High Court: A writ petition was contemplated by Vivek Rusia, J. for allowing medical termination of pregnancy of the said petitioner-wife. The petitioners requested the Court for termination of pregnancy as the report of the Radiologist showed that the right kidney of fetus was not visible and there were other complications. On the basis of the aforesaid report, the treating Doctor gave an opinion that after birth, the child may not survive even for 2-3 days.

The petitioner contended that the age of fetus was more than 20 weeks therefore, under the provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 the doctor had refused to terminate her pregnancy. The learned counsel for the petitioners had relied upon the judgment in X v. Union of India, 2016 (14) SCC 382, where the Supreme held that Section 5 of the Act laid down the exception to Section 3 if two registered Medical Practitioner gave the opinion of in good faith in respect of the termination of pregnancy to save the life of pregnant women. In the view of the aforesaid section, the Supreme Court had granted liberty to the petitioner to terminate her pregnancy. The counsel further placed reliance upon the judgment in Tapasya Umesh Pisal v. Union of India, (2018) 12 SCC 57, where the Supreme Court had permitted termination of pregnancy when the girl was into her 24th week of pregnancy. The Court held that “it is difficult for us to refuse the permission to the petitioner to undergo medical termination of pregnancy. It is certain that the fetus, if allowed to born, would have a limited life span with serious handicaps which cannot be avoided. It appears that the baby will certainly not grow into an adult.

It was requested by the petitioner to constitute a Committee of Doctors who can suggest whether the termination of pregnancy shall be allowed or not.

Court had already ordered the competent Medical Board to examine the petitioner-wife’s health condition and verify the report submitted. To the said order, the Board submitted their opinion and suggested that such termination was not possible after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The Court further on the request of the petitioner directed the respondents to constitute a Committee of 5 senior doctors immediately and the said Committee is directed to examine the physical condition of petitioner 1 and if it is found that it is not dangerous to her life, the Committee may proceed with the termination of her pregnancy.[Roshni v. State of M.P., 2019 SCC OnLine MP 1122, decided on 06-06-2019]

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