Medical termination of pregnancy of a 26-week pregnant woman: Supreme Court refers the matter to larger bench

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Today, the Supreme Court bench comprising Justice BV Nagarathna and Justice Hima Kohli was hearing the recall application filed by the Union regarding its order to terminate the pregnancy of a 26-week pregnant woman. The bench referred the matter to a larger bench because of the judge’s disagreement. During the court proceedings, Justice Kohli was not inclined to permit medical termination of pregnancy whereas Justice Nagarathna found no reason to interfere with the order passed on October 9 by the Court. Justice Kohli in her order reads, “One of us is not inclined to permit the petitioner to terminate the pregnancy, however, my sister judge is of a different opinion. That being the position, it is only appropriate that this matter be placed before the Hon’ble Chief Justice to be placed before an appropriate bench.” She further expressed disappointment at the new medical report filed by the medical committee member and said “All that has been stated and pointed out in the email dated 10.10.2023, ought to have been made part of the earlier report for this court to have had a clearer perspective on the matter. Which would have perhaps had a different connotation.” In a separate order, Justice Nagarathna recorded, “Having regard to the concrete determination of the petitioner, I find her decision must be respected.”