Delhi HC reserves order on plea for 23-week-old pregnancy termination

 The Delhi High Court on Friday reserved its verdict on a plea moved by a 25-year-old unmarried woman seeking termination of her 23-week-old pregnancy.

Delhi HC reserves order on plea for 23-week-old pregnancy termination

A division bench of Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma and Justice Subramonium Prasad made several oral remarks on the matter and enquired the petitioner's counsel about the possibility of giving birth to the child and allowing the adoption to someone thereafter.

"Give the child to somebody in adoption. Why are you killing the child? There is a big queue for child adoption," the bench said after observing that the termination of pregnancy at this stage will virtually amount to killing the child.

The bench also ensured that the woman's identity will remain undisclosed and she will remain in safe custody.

The Chief Justice also remarked: "We are not forcing her to raise the child... We will ensure that she goes to a good hospital... Her whereabouts will not be known. You give birth and come back....If the Government doesn't pay, I am here to pay."

However, the petitioner refused the suggestion.

The woman's counsel argued that her case was covered under Section 3(2)(b) of MTP Act, saying that where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by such pregnancy shall be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman. Legally, it is allowed up to 24 weeks, if in place of her, there is a widow/divorcee, counsel argued.

She was not physically, mentally, or financially fit to bring up the child being a single unmarried parent and that it will cause her mental trauma and will be a social stigma, he submitted.

After the submissions, the bench said they will send the petitioner to AIIMS for a medical opinion, while listing the matter for July 18.

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