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Delhi HC directs AIIMS to constitute panel to examine woman seeking termination of pregnancy

ANI | Updated: Dec 31, 2020 15:12 IST

New Delhi [India], December 31 (ANI): The Delhi High Court has directed the All India Institute Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a Medical Board to examine a petitioner/woman seeking the termination of her pregnancy as the foetus being carried by her is suffering from Bilateral Agenesis and Anlyaramni.
The HC further asked the board to submit a report regarding the medical condition of the foetus.
The Bench of Justice Vibhu Bakhru on Wednesday considers it apposite to direct the Superintendent of AIIMS to forthwith constitute a Medical Board to examine the petitioner and submit a report regarding the medical condition of the foetus and the possibility of the foetus not surviving the term of the pregnancy.
Court slated the matter for further hearing on January 4, 2021, while seeking a report and opinion of the board in the matter.
The petitioner woman through her Advocate Sneha Mukherjee prayed that directions be issued to the respondents to permit the petitioner to undergo medical termination of the pregnancy. The Plea stated that the petitioner is in her 25th week of pregnancy and stated that the foetus being carried by her is suffering from Bilateral Agenesis and Anlyaramni.

Further, advocate Sneha Mukharjee stated that the foetus would not survive till childbirth as both the kidneys have not been developed as yet. She submitted that in the circumstances it would be futile to compel the petitioner to undergo the full terms of pregnancy.
According to the petition it's has challenged the constitutional validity of section 3 (2) (b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP) restricted to the ceiling of 20 weeks stipulated therein.
This challenge is to the effect that the 20 weeks stipulation for a woman to avail of abortion services under section 3(2) (b) may have been reasonable when the section was enacted in 1971 but has ceased to be reasonable today where technology has advanced and it is perfectly safe for a woman to abort at any point during the entire period of pregnancy.
Secondly, determination of fetal abnormality in many cases can only be done after the 20th week and by keeping the ceiling artificially low, women who obtain reports of serious fetal abnormality after the 20th week have to suffer excruciating pain and agony because of the deliveries that they are forced to go through. The ceiling of 20 weeks is therefore arbitrary, harsh, discriminatory, and violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.
It also said that the petitioner's physical and mental health has been put in serious risk because of the 20-week time limit in Section 2(b) of the MTP Act. It was during an ultra-sonography at the gestational age of 25 weeks conducted on the petitioner that it was discovered that the fetus suffered from Bilateral Renal Agenesis (both kidneys absent) thereby making it incompatible with life.
However, the petitioner had crossed the 20 weeks mark and medical termination of pregnancy under the MTP Act restricts medical termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. (ANI)