Termination of pregnancy ought to be permitted even beyond 24 weeks period; Reiterates Delhi HC

  • Pankaj Bajpai
  • 08:31 PM, 10 Apr 2021

The Delhi High Court noted that the conditions in the present case constitute ‘substantial foetal abnormalities’ which could have an impact on the physical condition of the foetus even if the entire pregnancy is allowed to mature. Hence, observing that this would have a deleterious impact on the mother as well, the Petitioner is permitted to undergo the procedure for medical termination of her pregnancy at the B.L. Kapoor Hospital.

The Court however clarified that the patient shall be again made conscious of the risk involved, considering the fact that she is a cardiac patient. Further, if the Petitioner approaches the hospital, the termination shall be carried out without any further delay.

In Priyanka Shukla case, the Division Bench of Delhi HC considered the matter of medical termination of pregnancy in the 25th week. As per the medical reports placed before the Court, the foetus was suffering from severe oligohydromnious and bilateral multicystic dysplastic kidneys, which were observed to be incompatible with life, by the Court. The medical termination of the pregnancy was allowed by the Court, while observing that in matters where the condition of the foetus is incompatible with life, the rigour of Section 3(2) of the MTP Act, 1971 is to be relaxed and that the right to termination of pregnancy could not be denied based solely on the gestation period continuing beyond 20 weeks.

The recent amendments in the MTP Act, 1971 have been carried out and notified, though the Rules therein, are yet to be framed, in order to facilitate the termination of pregnancy beyond the period of 20 weeks, up until 24 weeks; and in the case of substantial foetal abnormalities, even beyond the 24 weeks’ period. This is clear from a reading of the amendments carried out in Section 3 of the Act.

These recent amendments permit termination beyond the 24 weeks period if there are serious abnormalities for the foetus. A perusal of the medical report in the present case shows that the foetus is suffering from substantial abnormalities and as per the Medical Board, the foetus has warfarin embryopathy.

Case Title: Mahima Yadav v. NCT of Delhi