4 August 2020


Judgments

Supreme Court

Meera Santosh Pal And Ors. V. Union Of India And Ors.

MANU/SC/0050/2017

16.01.2017

Law of Medicine

24-week pregnancy allowed to be terminated on ground of danger to life and certain inability of fetus to survive extra uterine life

Petitioner No.1 approached this Court under Article 32 of Constitution of India seeking directions to Respondents to allow her to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy. She apprehended danger to her life, having discovered that her fetus was diagnosed with Anencephaly, a defect that leaves foetal skull bones unformed and is both untreatable and certain to cause the infant’s death during or shortly after birth. This condition is also known to endanger the mother’s life. Crucial consideration in present case is whether the right to bodily integrity calls for a permission to allow her to terminate her pregnancy.

Report of Medical Board clearly warrants the inference that, continuance of pregnancy involves risk to the life of pregnant woman and a possible grave injury to her physical or mental health as required by Section 3(2)(i) of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Though, pregnancy is into 24th week, having regard to danger to the life and certain inability of fetus to survive extra uterine life, Supreme Court considered it appropriate to permit Petitioner to terminate the pregnancy. Overriding consideration is that she has a right to take all such steps as necessary to preserve her own life against the avoidable danger to it. In circumstances, given the danger to her life, there is no doubt that she has a right to protect and preserve her life and particularly since she has made an informed choice. Exercise of her right seems to be within limits of reproductive autonomy.

In Interests of justice, Supreme Court permitted Petitioner no.1 to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy under provisions of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. Termination of pregnancy of petitioner no.1 will be performed by Doctors of the hospital where she has undergone medical check-up. Further, termination of her pregnancy would be supervised by the above stated Medical Board who shall maintain complete record of procedure which is to be performed on Petitioner No.1 for termination of her pregnancy. With aforesaid directions, Apex Court allowed writ petition in terms of prayer seeking direction to Respondents to allow petitioner no.1 to undergo medical termination of her pregnancy.

Relevant

Section 3 (2)(i) of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971

Tags : Pregnancy Termination Direction

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