Delhi High Court

Delhi High Court: In a case wherein a woman filed the petition for termination of her 28 weeks pregnancy, a Single Judge Bench of *Prathiba M. Singh, J. allowed the termination of 28 weeks pregnancy as the report from the Medical Board of AIIMS suggested an evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome with poor postnatal prognosis in the foetus.

In the present case, the gestation period of the petitioner’s pregnancy was 28 weeks and she submitted that at 25 weeks of gestational age she underwent ultrasound, wherein for the first time some abnormalities in the foetus were found. Thereafter, she was referred to a foetal medicine expert and accordingly, a foetal echocardiography was conducted which showed significant foetal abnormalities. The petitioner had thus filed the present petition seeking medical termination of her pregnancy.

The Court noted that the opinion of the Medical Board from AIIMS clearly recorded that the Ultrasonography and foetal echo which was performed at AIIMS suggested an evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome with poor postnatal prognosis. The Court noted that the report of the Medical Board was unequivocal to the effect that there was a substantial foetal abnormality. The Court further noted that under Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (“MTP Act”), pregnancy could be terminated under various conditions and the present case would be governed by Section 3(2B) of the MTP Act which relaxed the conditions of length of pregnancy. Under Section 3(2B) of the MTP Act, termination of pregnancies which were beyond 24 weeks could be permitted only if the said termination were necessitated by the diagnosis of “substantial foetal abnormalities” by a Medical Board.

The Court noted that in the present case, the six-member Medical Board had diagnosed the existence of ‘hypoplastic left heart syndrome’ which did not have a positive post-natal prognosis, that is, after birth the prognosis for the foetus was quite poor.

Therefore, the Court, in view of the report of the Medical Board, directed that the medical termination of the petitioner’s pregnancy should be carried out at AIIMS.

[Mrs. A. v. State (NCT of Delhi), 2023 SCC OnLine Del 1405, decided on 7-3-2023]

Advocates who appeared in this case :

For the Petitioner: DHCLSC Anwesh Madhukar;

Advocate Pranjal Shekhar;

Advocate Prachi Nirwan;

Advocate Yaseen Siddiqui;

For the Respondents: ASC Mehak Nakra;

Advocate Abhishek Khari;

Advocates V.S.R. Krishna;

Advocates Shashank Kumar.

*Order By: Justice Prathiba M. Singh.

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