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SC Protects Privacy of Woman, Rejects Her Plea to Terminate over 25-Week Pregnancy

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By ETV Bharat English Team

Published : May 30, 2024, 7:10 PM IST

The Supreme Court perused the report dated May 24, 2024, submitted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences. We are not quoting what is mentioned in the report for protecting the privacy of the petitioner, the apex court said.

The Supreme Court has declined to entertain a plea filed by a woman, who moved the court seeking permission to terminate her over 25-week pregnancy.
Supreme Court (ETV Bharat)

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has declined to entertain a plea filed by a woman, who moved the court seeking permission to terminate her over 25-week pregnancy. A vacation bench comprising justices Abhay S Oka and Satish Chandra Sharma examined the report submitted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Delhi. Last week, the apex court had asked AIIMS to examine the physical condition of the woman and her foetus.

“We have perused the report dated 24th May, 2024, submitted by All India Institute of Medical Sciences. We are not quoting what is mentioned in the report for protecting the privacy of the petitioner. But in light of the report, we cannot permit termination of pregnancy in the facts of the case," said the bench, in its order passed on May 27.

During the hearing, the counsel, representing the woman, had submitted before the bench that his client has travelled from Dubai and is currently residing in a hotel here, and also she is not financially strong. While rejecting the writ petition filed by the woman, the bench said, “The report shall remain on record in a sealed envelope."

The apex court’s order came on a plea of the woman, who claimed that she had come to know about her pregnancy only on May 17.

The apex court, while hearing the plea on May 21, had asked the AIIMS to file a report regarding the "physical health of the petitioner as well as of the foetus and its impact on the former's unwanted pregnancy".

On May 15, in a separate case, a three-judge bench of the apex court had rejected a plea of a 20-year-old unmarried woman seeking termination of her over 27-week pregnancy.

A bench comprising justices BR Gavai, SVN Bhattiand Sandeep Mehta had said the court cannot pass any order contrary to the statute and questioned the petitioner’s counsel, “The child in womb also has a fundamental right to live. What do you say about that?” The petitioner’s counsel contended that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act talks about the mother only, and pressed “it is made for mother”.

The bench told the counsel that the duration of pregnancy was over seven months now. "What about the right of the child to survive? How do you address that?" the bench asked. The counsel submitted that the woman's mental and physical well-being should be considered.

The counsel had argued that the woman at this stage is under severe traumatic conditions and can't come outside also. “She is in a highly traumatic condition. She can't face society at this stage," he said. However, the bench told the counsel that it is not keen in entertaining the petition.

Under MTP Act, aborting a foetus that is more than 24 weeks old can be allowed only in cases of substantial foetal abnormality as diagnosed by a medical board or if an opinion is formed in good faith for the purpose of saving the life of the pregnant woman.

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