The Delhi High Court dismissed a petition for medical termination of pregnancy of 28 weeks holding that there was no danger in carrying on the pregnancy and foeticide would not be legally permissible.

The petitioner was a 20-year-old unmarried student who sought directions for permitting medical termination of her pregnancy under the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act and the Rules (MTP Act).

Prior to an ultrasound scan, the petitioner had not found any symptoms of pregnancy due to irregular menstrual periods from August 2023 to January 2024, and she had not shown any bodily symptoms usually indicating pregnancy.

A Single Bench of Justice Subramonium Prasad observed, “There is no congenital abnormality in the foetus nor any danger to the mother to carry on with the pregnancy which will mandate termination of the foetus. Since the foetus is viable and normal, and there is no danger to the Petitioner to carry on with the pregnancy, foeticide would neither be ethical nor legally permissible.

Advocate Amit Mishra represented the petitioner, while CGSC Nidhi Raman appeared for the respondents.

The Court noted that “under Section 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act, a pregnancy may be terminated without record to the length of pregnancy as given in Section 3(1) of the MTP Act even beyond 24 weeks where such termination of such pregnancy is necessary due to any substantial foetal abnormality as diagnosed by a medical board.

The Court remarked that a pregnancy beyond 24 weeks can only be terminated if requirements provided under Section 5 of the MTP Act are satisfied and the decision has been made to save the life of the pregnant woman or to the satisfaction of Section 3(2)(b) and Section 3(2)(a)(i) for substantial foetal abnormalities.

The Court explained that since the foetus was viable and normal and there was no danger to the Petitioner to carry on with the pregnancy, foeticide would not be legally permissible.

The Court held, “The Petitioner is already seven months pregnant with a healthy and viable foetus. The prayer sought for by the Petitioner for a direction to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) for premature termination of pregnancy/delivery of the child cannot be acceded to by this Court since the case of the Petitioner does not fall within the four corners of the MTP Act and the Rules.

The Court also stated that the petitioner was at liberty to approach the Union of India if she wished to give the newborn child for adoption and directed the Union of India to ensure that the process of adoption could take place at the earliest.

Accordingly, the High Court dismissed the writ petition.

Cause Title: S v. Union of India & Ors. (2024:DHC:826)


Petitioner: Advocate Amit Mishra

Respondent: CGSC Nidhi Raman, GP Priya Mishra, ASC Mehak Nakra, Advocates Sachin Dubey, Abhishek Khari and Disha Chaudhory

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