Begin typing your search above and press return to search.
News Updates

"Hardship To Women": Bombay High Court Orders Constitution Of Medical Boards For Medical Termination Of Pregnancy

Sharmeen Hakim
4 Jan 2022 4:30 AM GMT
Hardship To Women: Bombay High Court Orders Constitution Of Medical Boards For Medical Termination Of Pregnancy
x
Section 2(C) of the MTP (Amendment) Act, 2021 requires every State/ UT to constitute Medical Boards.

The Bombay High Court has directed the state Government to forthwith constitute medical boards based on the Amended Act on medical termination of pregnancy so as to not cause hardships to women seeking termination of pregnancy."Though required to constitute Medical Boards under Section 3(2C), the State of Maharashtra has not done so thus far. The failure of the State Government to do so not...

The Bombay High Court has directed the state Government to forthwith constitute medical boards based on the Amended Act on medical termination of pregnancy so as to not cause hardships to women seeking termination of pregnancy.

"Though required to constitute Medical Boards under Section 3(2C), the State of Maharashtra has not done so thus far. The failure of the State Government to do so not only causes hardship to women seeking medical termination of pregnancy, but also increases the number of Petitions filed for such purpose," observed a division bench of Justices SJ Kathawalla and Madhav Jamdar.
The court directed that a copy of the order be forwarded to the State Advocate General for further and prompt action. It said, "The State of Maharashtra should therefore forthwith proceed to constitute Medical Boards, as the same will result in providing efficacious redressal to women seeking medical termination of pregnancy with foetal abnormalities."
The bench observed that Section 3(2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Act, 2021 has increased the limitation to undergo medical termination of pregnancy from the earlier 20 weeks to 24 weeks. It further added that section 3(2B), in fact, carved out an exception in cases of foetal abnormalities and did not limit such termination to the 24 weeks period otherwise provided in the subsection.
The said section reads:
3(2B) – The provisions of sub-section (2) relating to the length of the pregnancy shall not apply to the termination of pregnancy by the medical practitioner where such termination is necessitated by the diagnosis of any of the substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by a Medical Board.
The court was hearing a petition filed by a Mumbai resident lady, 30 years of age, seeking to be allowed to terminate her 25-weeks old pregnancy due to certain abnormalities in the fetus.
It directed that the woman be examined by a panel of doctors of Sir JJ Group of Hospitals comprising the Dean of the Hospital, Head of the Department (Gynecology), Professor and Head of Department of Pediatric/Cardiac Surgeon, Professor and Head of Department of Radiology and Head of Psychiatry Department, Professor and Head of Neurological Department and any other expert in the field as the Dean may deem appropriate to be included.
The panel presented a report before the court on December 31 which stated that the foetus suffered from "severe microcephaly and potential mental retardation and cognitive affection" and noted that the petitioner woman was anguished with the condition of the foetus. The report said that the termination of the affected foetus was advisable "as per the potential morbidities."
The bench noted that the said abnormality involved a smaller than normal head and since brain growth was correlated with head growth, people with the said disorder "often have an intellectual disability, poor motor function, poor speech, abnormal facial features, seizures and dwarfism."
The court allowed the woman to terminate her pregnancy at a private hospital and directed that in the event the child was born alive, the Medical Practitioner conducting the procedure shall ensure that all necessary facilities are made available to such child for saving his/her life.
Citation : 2022 LiveLaw (Bom) 1

Next Story