Today, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court (SC) comprising Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, Justice Manoj Misra, and Justice JB Pardiwala rejected the plea filed by a 26-week pregnant woman to abort her third pregnancy on the ground that she was suffering from postpartum psychosis. While rejecting the plea, the bench addressed that allowing the petitioner to terminate the 26-week pregnancy would violate Section 3 and Section 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act. He added, “There is no immediate threat to the mother in the matter and this is not a case of fetal abnormality.”
On October 13, the Supreme Court bench asked for a fresh report from AIIMS on whether the fetus is suffering from any substantial abnormality. The report submitted by AIIMS today illustrated that the fetus was healthy and viable and it sought clarification from the SC on whether to proceed to stop the heart of the fetus for pregnancy termination or not. The bench said, “This court is averse to passing such a direction. The petitioner doesn’t wish to do the same.” The SC clarified that the cost of all medical procedures would be borne by the state. It also added that the petitioner would have the ultimate say on whether to keep the child after being born or to give it up for adoption.
During the court proceedings, various arguments were raised regarding the interpretation of ‘life’ under Section 5 of the MTP Act, pre-term or post-term delivery choice, and the rights of unborn child. After hearing all the contentions submitted by Advocate Amit Mishra, Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, and Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, the SC bench rejected the plea.