The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) to constitute a panel to examine a woman, who approached the court, seeking the termination of pregnancy as the foetus she’s carrying is suffering from facial hemorrhage and hydrocephalus.
A single-judge bench of Justice Navin Chawla passed the directions while hearing a petition filed by the woman through Advocate Sneha Mukherjee. “The Medical Superintendent of AIIMS is directed to appoint a Board of Doctors to examine the petitioner and give a report on the advisability of the petitioner undergoing Medical Termination of Pregnancy,” the bench said.
Slating the matter for further hearing on April 5, the bench directed the woman to appear before the Medical Superintendent of the AIIMS tomorrow at 11 am. “AIIMS shall file the report of the Board of Doctors before this Court, on or before the next date of hearing,” it said.
The plea claimed that the petitioner woman is in the 24th week of her pregnancy and on carrying out medical examinations, it has been reported that the foetus is suffering from facial hemorrhage and hydrocephalus.
The plea has also 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.