In a petition seeking termination of the pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, the Delhi High Court opined that the right to terminate pregnancy cannot be denied merely because the gestation has continued beyond 20 weeks.
The bench comprising of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice C. Hari Shankar said that in certain circumstances it is difficult to refuse the permission to undergo medical termination of pregnancy.
The Delhi High Court referred to the Judgment of Supreme Court in Tapasya Umesh Pisal v. Union of India & Ors, (2018) 12 SCC 57, where the termination of pregnancy was allowed because the foetus if allowed to born, would have a limited life span with serious handicaps which cannot be avoided.
"Section 3(2)(b) permits termination of pregnancy, inter alia, where there is substantial risk of serious physical or mental abnormalities, were the child to be allowed to be born. Seen in isolation, it thus places a gap of 20 weeks gestation for this to be permissible. At the same time, Section 5 relaxes the rigour of Section 3(2) in a case where the termination of the pregnancy is immediately necessary to save the life of the pregnant woman"
Further, the bench was of the opinion that the provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 have to be construed as a part of cumulative dispensation and not isolated from each other. The court said that it is convinced that, even in a case where the condition of the foetus is, as in the instant case, incompatible with life, the rigor of Section- 3(2) deserves to be relaxed.
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