Court gave an exceptional permission to the petitioner for termination of pregnancy in 30th week whereas Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act permits the termination from 20th to 24th week of pregnancy: High Court of Kerala

Petitioners got permission for the termination of pregnancy in their 30th week because the termination was necessitated as the medical board found that there is abnormality diagnosed to the foetus and was upheld by High Court of Kerala through the learned bench led by HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE P.V.KUNHIKRISHNAN in the case of XXXX vs. UNION OF INDIA (WP(C) NO. 12037 OF 2022) on 8th April, 2022.

Facts of the case are that the 1st petitioner is the wife of the 2nd petitioner and she is aged 26 years. The 2nd petitioner husband is aged 36 years. After their marriage, no children born in their wedlock. The 1st petitioner started treatment and became pregnant. Now the pregnancy of the 1st petitioner is almost 30 weeks. When the pregnancy completed 21 weeks a scan was conducted with the assistance of medical practitioners and there was no problem to the pregnancy at that time. Subsequently when the scan was conducted on 26.03.2022 during the 29th week of pregnancy, some complications were found and medical report said that it will be better to terminate the pregnancy.

Learned counsel for petitioner submitted that in the MRI Scan, it reveals that the foetus is suffering from grade IV intraventricular hemorrhage and existence of a porencephalic cyst, both indicating towards hydrocephalus. This would mean that the foetus is suffering from bleeding inside the skull and has probably led to the cavities in brain being filled with the blood. The report also suggested that the foetus is associated with high chance of morbidity and the foetus is suffering from severe anemia, dilated ventricles and distorted cerebellum.

Medical Board took the detailed history and completed physical examination of the patient, along with verification of all the investigation records and previous treatment records of the patient and arrived at conclusion that continuation of the pregnancy would involve risk to life of pregnant women and grave injury to her physical health due to possibility of intrauterine death and its complications. Even if the child were born, it would suffer from serious physical and mental abnormalities like cerebral palsy, Hydrocephalus, Mental retardation, developmental delay, convulsions and even death.

Court held that Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act permits termination of pregnancy if the length of pregnancy exceeds 20 weeks but does not exceeds 24 weeks. But Section 3(2B) says that the provisions of sub-section (2) relating to the length of the pregnancy shall not apply to the termination of pregnancy by the medical practitioner where such termination is necessitated by the diagnosis of any of the substantial foetal abnormalities diagnosed by a Medical Board. Court allowed the writ petition and directed the 5th respondent to terminate the pregnancy, in accordance to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, within one week from the date of receipt of a copy of this judgment and forbidden to disclose the identity of the petitioners.

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Judgment reviewed by – Amit Singh

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