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SC Constitutes Medical Board To Examine Woman Pleading Abortion Of 25-Week Old Fetus [Read Order]

The Supreme Court on Friday constituted a Medical Board to examine a 33-year old pregnant lady from Kolkata, Ms. Sarmishtha Chakraborty, who has approached the Court with a plea to allow abortion of her 25-week old fetus on the ground that it suffers from abnormalities. The examination will be conducted at the Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education & Research (SSKM Hospital), Kolkata.

A Vacation Bench of the Court comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice S.K. Kaul has directed the Medical Board to submit its evaluation report on 29 June in a sealed cover. A copy has also been directed to be furnished to the Standing Counsel for the state of West Bengal.

Ms. Chakraborty has, in her Petition, claimed that she had suffered immense mental and physical anguish as a result of the unreasonable 20-week restriction on abortion under Sections 2(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. She has now challenged the constitutional validity of Section 3(2)(b) of the MTP Act, 1971, and the scope of Section 5 of the Act, on the ground of its narrow and literal interpretation, particularly limited to the phrase ‘the termination of such pregnancy is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman’.

The Petition contends that these provisions would have been reasonable in 1971, when the Act was enacted, but have ceased to be reasonable now in view of stride in technology. It is perfectly safe for a woman to abort even up to 26th week and thereafter, it argues.

Read the Order here.

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