Delhi HC denies unmarried woman to end her pregnancy at 23 weeks

- July 16, 2022
| By : Patriot Bureau |

The Delhi High Court has rejected a request by an unmarried woman to have an abortion at 23 weeks, stating that the law prohibits such procedures after 20 weeks for pregnancies resulting from consensual relationships

Photo: Pixabay

The Court, however, has requested the Centre’s response to the woman’s claim that it is discriminatory to prevent unmarried women from having a medical termination of pregnancy up to 24 weeks.

The petitioner (aged 25), who would reach 24 weeks of pregnancy on 18 July, informed the court that her partner, with whom she was in a consensual relationship, had declined to marry her.

She emphasized that she was not mentally prepared to be a mother and that having an unplanned pregnancy would cause her psychological suffering as well as social humiliation.

When addressing the appeal, a panel of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad of the High Court ruled that in using its constitutional authority under Article 226 of the Constitution, the court could not deviate from the law.

The court stated in its ruling dated 15 July that the petitioner, who is an unmarried woman and whose pregnancy arises out of a consensual relationship, is clearly not covered by any of the clauses under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003.

According to the Court, while using its authority under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, 1950, it cannot go beyond the law because Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003 (which excludes unmarried women) is still in effect as of today.

The Court had stated at the hearing on Friday that it would not allow the petitioner to have medical termination of pregnancy at 23 weeks since doing so would essentially be killing the foetus.

The legislature “purposefully excluded consensual partnership” from the category of instances where termination is permitted after 20 weeks and up to 24 weeks, according to the High Court, which highlighted that the law gave unmarried women time to undergo the procedure of medical termination of pregnancy.

The petitioner may be housed “somewhere safe” until she gives birth, after which the kid could be placed for adoption, according to the suggestion.

The court had stated that we’ll make sure the girl is kept in a secure location so she may give birth and go. There is a lengthy adoption waiting list.

The court announced that it would issue an order regarding the petition after the attorney declined its suggestion.

(With inputs from PTI)


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