Ms. X vs The Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of India
DATE OF JUDGEMENT:
July 15, 2022
Petitioner – Ms. X
Respondent - The Principal Secretary Health and Family Welfare Department, Government of India
Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma
Justice Subramonium Prasad
- This petition aims at including the unmarried woman under the Rule 3B of Medical Termination Rules 2013 for the purposes of section 3 of Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2003.
- To include unmarried woman in the ambit of the Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules 2003.
- An order immediate Interim Relief of stay for permission to terminate pregnancy.
- SECTION 3 MEDICAL TERMINATION OF PREGNANCY ACT: This section provides for termination of pregnancies by registered medical practices under such circumstances as mentioned under the section. the same shall be not done if the length of pregnancy exceeds twenty weeks, and in cases where the pregnancy would cause risk to the life of the women it can be done even after exceeding twenty weeks but not exceeding twenty four weeks.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE PETITIONER
- The counsel on behalf of the petitioner argued that Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules, 2003 violates the Article 14 of the Constitution of India as it excludes unmarried woman from the Rule.
- The counsel further argued that the amendments made in 2021 by substituting the word husband with partner would leave to a functional interpretation resulting the section would apply to unmarried women too.
- The counsel further argued that the termination be held since the same would be not objected to a widow or divorced woman and with the amendments brought after 2021 the main aim was to look into the advancements and adapt.
ARGUMENTS ADVANCED BY THE RESPONDENT
- The respondent argued that the Section 3(2) is not applicable as the petitioner does not fall under the circumstances given under the Act. The pregnancy was already past twenty weeks and though if considered with regards to twenty four weeks the petitioner here does not fall under such circumstances as stated by the Act.
- The respondent further argued that there existed no provision for in reference to the unmarried woman under the Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules 2013, thus the petitioner cannot claim any interim relief for the same.
- The court considering both the parties and analysing the same has decided that the Rule as of now is not held invalid and there is no provision for which unmarried women can be considered under the Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2003.
- The court as to the violation of Article 14 had held such a question would be decided based upon after determining if such rule is ultra vires and for the same the court has issued a notice seeking to include unmarried woman within the Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules 2003 for in reference to the Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2013.
- Thus, the interim relief was not entertained and the application for the same was dismissed.
- Though the Act does not mention much about unmarried woman there has to be a functional interpretation and here the spirit of the law basically is to make such termination procedures by registered practitioners and stop illegal practices thus the decision of the High Court in issuing the notice so as to include even the unmarried woman under Rule 3B of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules 2003 for in reference to the Section 3(2) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 2013.
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