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Unmarried woman moves SC challenging Delhi HC order denying permission to abort 24 weeks pregnancy

New Delhi: An unmarried woman on Tuesday approached the Supreme Court of India against the Delhi High Court which refused to grant permission to abort her 24-week-old pregnancy out of a consensual sexual relationship.
Advocate Amit Mishra appeared for the woman on Tuesday and mentioned the matter before the bench headed by the Chief Justice of India for urgent listing today.

The Delhi High Court last week had refused to grant interim relief to a 25-years-old woman in view of Rule 3B of the MTP Rules 2003 which does not allow an unmarried woman to abort a pregnancy of more than 20 weeks out of a consensual sexual relationship.

The bench had observed, "The petitioner, who is an unmarried woman and whose pregnancy arises out of a consensual relationship, is clearly not covered by any of the clauses under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003. Therefore, section 3 (2)(b) of the Act is not applicable to the facts of this case."

" Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003, stands, and this court, while exercising its power under Article 226 of Constitution of India, 1950, cannot go beyond the statute. Granting interim relief now would amount to allowing the writ petition."

Advocate Amit Mishra had submitted that Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003 is violative of Article 14 of the constitution of India, inasmuch as it excludes an unmarried woman.

The bench said, "whether such rule is valid or not can be decided only after the said rule is held Ultra Virus, for which purpose, notice has to be issued in the writ petition and has been done so by this court."

The bench issued notice to the Health and Family welfare department of the Delhi government and directed them to file a response on the petition by August 26. The court said the notice is limited to the prayer which seeks to include unmarried women in Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003.

These rules include the victim of rape, minor, women whose marital status changes during pregnancy, mentally ill women and women with foetal malformation and these are allowed to terminate pregnancy upto 24 weeks, said the court.

During the hearing on the petition, last week had said that granting permission for abortion at this stage would amount to killing of the child, the court will not allow this.

The bench had suggested that the child can be given for adoption. There is a long queue for adoption. Why are you killing the child?

The petitioner woman had challenged rule 3B. She had also sought permission to terminate the 23 weeks pregnancy. The counsel for the petitioner had submitted that the pregnancy will impact the petitioner physically and mentally. (ANI)

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