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Mother approaches Delhi HC, seeks permission to terminate pregnancy of...

Delhi HC

A mother has knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court seeking medical termination of pregnancy for her unmarried and minor daughter aged 16 years 4 months who is carrying a single ongoing live pregnancy of 17 weeks 5 days as per ultrasound scan. The said pregnancy has arisen from a consensual and close relationship.

The bench of Chief Justice Subramonium Prasad comprising Justice Subramonium Prasad sought the response of all respondents and fixed the matter for hearing on September 20, 2022.

The plea stated that no government or private hospital is terminating the said pregnancy without reporting the matter as per the mandate of section 19 (1) POCSO but the petitioner being the mother and legal guardian of her minor daughter wants termination of ongoing pregnancy without reporting the said matter ensuing social stigma, ostracization and harassment.

Advocate Amit Mishra appeared for the petitioner’s mother and stated that the daughter also doesn’t want to continue the said pregnancy as she is not physically and mentally prepared to raise this child and continuing the pregnancy would cause immense injury to her physical and mental health.

Even the petitioner is very poor and uneducated to raise this child as she has a total of five children and the husband of the petitioner is no more. The petitioner does the household work and has a very meagre income to raise her family, the plea states.

In such circumstances, continuing the ongoing pregnancy for the daughter petitioner would cause immense mental agony and physical suffering not only for the daughter rather for the whole family, said the plea.

Advocate Amit Mishra also submitted that Section 3 (2) (a) (i) MTP Act permits the termination of pregnancy upto 20 weeks if the registered medical practitioner is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or of grave injury to her physical or mental health.

Section 3(3) MTP Act speaks about an account that may be taken of the pregnant woman’s actual or reasonably foreseeable environment. Section 5A MTP Act recently amended in 2021 speaks about the protection of the privacy of a woman. But, Section 19 (1) POCSO mandates for reporting of an offence to the local police and thus violates her legal right enshrined under section 3 of the MTP Act and also violates her Right to Privacy, Personal Autonomy, Dignity and Reproductive Choice which are an inseparable part of Right to Life Article 21 of the Constitution of India & thereby, meriting interference by this court, read the plea.

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