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MTP act- where and when pregnancies can be terminated


“ABC” .. Petitioner
Through her Guardian
1. The State of Maharashtra .. Respondents
Through its Secretary,Mantralaya, Mumbai­32.
2. Chief Medical Officer,
Government Hospital, Latur.
Mr.Sujit A. Patil h/f. Mr. V.D.Salunke, Advocate for the petitioner.
Mr.A.B.Girase, Government Pleader for respondent/State.

RESERVED ON : 01.02.2018
PRONOUNCED ON : 02.02.2018

1. Rule.  Rule made returnable forthwith and heard finally   with   a   agree   of   schooled   Counsels   appearing for the respective parties.

2. The minor victim girl who is physically abused and mentally tortured has approached this Court through her father – the guardian for seeking directions in the inlet   of   command   of   mandamus,   thereby   directing   to cancel   her   pregnancy   by   following   a   procession   as described under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971   [hereinafter   referred   as   to   “the   MTP   Act”]   and further directions to conduct DNA test of unborn foetus, so as to determine natural parents of it.

3. The guardian father of the victim contends that he has four daughters and one son.  The victim is minor daughter aged about 16 years.   She is studying in 10th standard.  As per her bona fide certificate issued by the school, her date of birth is 05.01.2001.  It is further contended   that   his   elder   daughter   has   married   on 06.01.2013   with   one   Vikas   Rathod   and   he   is   not maintaining his wife.   Vikas drove his wife out of his house.   Therefore, she is residing with the petitioner. Some complaints were filed against the matrimonial family members of elder daughter of the petitioner and therefore there was grudge in the mind of that family.

4. According to the petitioner on 27.11.2017 when victim went in the morning to answer the nature’s call outside the house, she did not return.   The petitioner tried to search her.   However,  he could not find her. The   postulant   suspected   that   his   son­in­law   Vikas   and his   family,   who   had   hate   in   a   mind,   contingency   have kidnapped the victim to pressurize the petitioner for not filing any complaint.  When the petitioner could not find a   victim,   he   lodged   a   First   Information   Report   in Kingaon   Police   Station   temperament   No.144   of   2017   on 30.11.2017 under section 363 read with section 34 of the Indian Penal Code.  After the said crime was registered, the son­in­law of the petitioner brought the victim in a   military   hire   on   04.12.2017.     At   that   time, statement of the victim was recorded wherein she did not allege any overtact on the part of Vikas and she refused for   any   medical   examination.     On   this   count,   she   was remanded in Child Rehabilitation Home at Latur.   In the said Home, statement of the victim under section 164 of Code   of   Criminal   Procedure   came   to   be   available   on 11.12.2017 by the PSI attached to Gandhi   Chowk Police Station, Latur, in which she narrated the entire incident and   done   indictment   opposite   Vikas   Rathod   of   committing rape by threatening her to her life, and against him and his father of inserting some substance in her mouth and of   putting   a   handkerchief   in   her   mouth.   Thereafter, offence punishable under section 376 of the IPC was added in the above said crime.

5. The   postulant   contends   that   after   recording matter   as   above   of   a   victim,   she   was   referred   on 20.12.2017 to the Government Hospital, Latur for medical examination.  Upon medical examination, it was found that she is carrying two months’ pregnancy.   Thereafter, the accused and his relatives threatened the complainant for apocalyptic   consequences,   if   he   does   not   take   box   back. Therefore,   applications   were   submitted   in   a   military station.

6. According   to   a   petitioner,   teenager   plant   who was under constant mental and physical pressure of the accused, initially did not attribute any overtact against the accused.   Only when she was in Child Rehabilitation Home,   she   has   collected   bravery   and   she   narrated   a incident.     As   such,   firstly   a   plant   was   intimately assaulted and then she was pressurized for not giving any statement against the accused.   Thus, the victim became profound   due   to   iniquitous   act   committed   by   a   indicted person.     Therefore,   deliberation   her   age,   her   marital status, physical and mental condition and her education, it is desirable to terminate unwanted pregnancy in the light of provisions under sub­section 2(b)(i) of section 3 of the MTP Act.   It is contended that after getting knowledge of pregnancy of the victim, the petitioner and his   whole   family   was   uneasy   and   was   in   startle   and therefore some time was consumed.

7. Considering   aforesaid   contentions   in   a petition and prayer of the petitioner to send the victim for medical examination and opinion of two experts, by order dated 23.01.2018, we had directed to produce the plant   before   a   Medical   Board   constituted   for   a purpose under the MTP Act, with directions to the Medical Board to forthwith examine the victim and tender report to this Court.  The petitioner was medically examined at Government Medical College and Hospital, Aurangabad, by consultant   cabinet   consisting   of   a   following   5 members:­
i)  Dr. Shrinivas Gadappa (Chairman) Prof.  HOD, OBGY
ii) Dr.Prashant Titare (Member) Asso. Prof. Radiology
iii)Dr.P.S. Patil (Member) Prof.  HOD Paediatrics
iv) Dr. Ghuge (Member) Prof  HOD, Psychiatry
v)  Dr.Rashmi Bengali (Member) Asso. Prof. Anaesthesia

8. Said Committee tendered to this Court a report antiquated   25.01.2018.     Said   news   is   taken   on   record   and remarkable   “X”   for   a   purpose   of   identification.     In   a said report, the following findings are recorded :­
1)   From   ubiquitous   medical   hearing   she   has   no   active medical complaints.
2) Obstetric examination her vital parameters are within normal limits with 16.2 weeks of pregnancy.
3)   Ultrasonographic   hearing   revealing   of   singular live   intrauterine   foetus   of   approximately   16   weeks   2 days.  No gross lethal foetal anomaly (Report attached)
4)   On   Psychiatric   examination,   clinically   she   is   of average intelligence. No active current psychopathology. Her concept and judgment are intact. She is aware about the incident and the consequences about the continuation of pregnancy.

9. The   conclusions   of   a   pronounced   Committee   are   as follows :­
1) Current   pregnancy,   on   clinical   and ultrasonographical   hearing   is   around   16.2   weeks   of gestation.   No gross lethal congenital anomalies in the foetus.
2) Her   earthy   and   mental   health   is   within   normal limits.
3) Under   a   Medical   Termination   of   Pregnancy   Act, 1971 (34 of 1971) under clause 3 of 2 on humanitarian grounds such as when pregnancy arises from a sex crime like   rape   or   retort   with   a   “mentally   ill   person” etc.;   when   a   length   of   pregnancy   is   reduction   than   20 weeks.
4) Risk of termination of pregnancy is within normal acceptable limits.

10. The provisions of sections 3,4 and 5 of the MTP Act, which provide for termination of certain pregnancy by   a   purebred   medical   practitioner   and   that   are relevant are as under :­
3. When   pregnancies   might   be   consummated   by registered medical practitioners ­
(1) Notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   a Indian   Penal   Code   (45   of   1860),   a   purebred medical   practitioner   shall   not   be   guilty   of   any corruption   underneath   that   Code   or   underneath   any   other   law for the time being in force, if any pregnancy is consummated   by   him   in   suitability   with   a provisions of this Act.
(2) Subject   to   a   supplies   of   sub­section (4),   a   pregnancy   might   be   consummated   by   a registered medical practitioner, (a) where the length of the pregnancy does not

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exceed twelve weeks, if such medical practitioner is, or
(b) where   a   length   of   a   pregnancy   exceeds twelve weeks but does not exceed twenty weeks, if not   reduction   than   dual   purebred   medical practitioners   are,   of   opinion,   shaped   in   good faith, that ­
(i) a   delay   of   a   pregnancy   would involve a risk to the life of the pregnant woman or   of   grave   damage   to   her   earthy   or   mental health; or
(ii) there   is   a   estimable   risk   that   if   a child   were   born,   it   would   humour   from   such earthy   or   mental   abnormalities   as   to   be seriously handicapped.

Explanation 1 – Where any pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, a   agonise   caused   by   such   pregnancy   shall   be reputed   to   consecrate   a   grave   damage   to   a mental health of the pregnant woman.
Explanation 2 – Where any pregnancy occurs as a result of failure of any device or method used by any married woman or her husband for the purpose of   tying   a   series   of   children,   a   agonise caused by such unwanted pregnancy may be presumed to   consecrate   a   grave   damage   to   a   mental health of the pregnancy woman.

(3) in determining whether the continuance of a pregnancy   would   engage   such   risk   of   damage   to a   health   as   is   mentioned   in   sub­section   (2), comment   might   be   taken   of   a   profound   woman’s actual or reasonable foreseeable environment.
(4)   (a)   No   pregnancy   of   a   woman,   who   has   not achieved   a   age   of   eighteen   years,   or,   who, having attained the age of eighteen years, is a [mentally ill person], shall be terminated except with the consent in writing of her guardian.

(b) Save as otherwise provided in clause (a), no pregnancy   shall   be   consummated   solely   with   a consent of the pregnant woman.

4. Place   where   pregnancy   might   be   consummated   ­ No   stop   of   pregnancy   shall   be   done   in accordance with this Act at any place other than
(a) a   sanatorium   determined   or   confirmed   by Government , or
(b) a place for the time being approved for the purpose of this Act by Government or a District Level   Committee   constituted   by   that   Government with the Chief Medical Officer or District Health Officer as a Chairperson of the said Committee. Provided   that   a   District   Level   Committee shall consist of not less than three and not more than   5   members   including   a   Chairperson,   as the Government may specify from time to time.

5. Sections 3 and 4 when not to apply ­
(1) The provisions of section 4, and so much of of the provisions of sub­section (2) of section 3 as relate to the length of the pregnancy and the opinion   of   not   reduction   than   dual   purebred   medical practitioners, shall not apply to the termination of   a   pregnancy   by   a   purebred   medical practitioner   in   a   box   where   he   is   of   opinion, shaped   in   good   faith,   that   a   stop   of such   pregnancy   is   immediately   compulsory   to   save the life of the pregnant woman.
(2) Notwithstanding   anything   contained   in   a Indian   Penal   Code   (45   of   1860),   a   stop of pregnancy by   person who is not a registered medical   practitioner   shall   be   an   corruption punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years under that Code, that Code shall, to this extent, stand modified.
(3) Whoever terminates any pregnancy in a place other than that mentioned in section 4, shall be punishable with rigorous imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than two years but which may extend to seven years.

Explanation 1 ­ For the purposes of this section, a   countenance   “owner”   in   propinquity   to   a   place means   any   chairman   who   is   a   executive   conduct or   differently   obliged   for   a   operative   or upkeep   of   a  sanatorium   or   place,   by   whatever name   called,   where   a   pregnancy   might   be terminated under this Act.
Explanation   2   ­   For   a   functions   of   this section,so   most   of   a   supplies   of   proviso   (d) of   territory   2   describe   to   a   possession,   by registered medical practitioner, of experience or training in gynaecology and obstetrics shall not apply.

11. Referring   a   above   provisions,   this   Court   in Writ Petition No.14173   of 2017  “X (since minor through her   mother)   Vs.   The   Union   of   India     Ors.,   (Coram   : R.M.Borde  Smt.Vibha Kankanwadi,JJ) in para 10 of the judgment dated 12.12.2017 observed as under :­ “10. Although section 3 of the Act provides the limit of

12   weeks   for   medically   terminating   pregnancy   by   a medical practitioner and, where the length of pregnancy exceeds 12 weeks but does not exceed 20 weeks and if, not less than two medical practitioners are of opinion, formed in good faith, the continuance of pregnancy would engage   a   risk   to   a   life   of   a   profound   lady   or grave  injury   to   her   earthy   or   mental   health  or   that there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it   would   humour   from   such   earthy   or   mental abnormalities as to be  seriously  handicapped, it  would be permissible to terminate the pregnancy.   It must be noted that section 5 of the Act is not controlled by the limitation in respect of duration of pregnancy contained in sections 3 and 4 of the Act.   If in the opinion of medical   experts,   arrived   during   in   good   faith,   a stop   of   pregnancy   is   immediately   compulsory   to save   a   life  of   a   profound  woman,   such  a   pregnancy can   be   terminated.     It   also   contingency   be   remarkable   that Explanation   1   to   territory   3   annals   that   where   a pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, the anguish caused by such pregnancy can be presumed to constitute a grave injury to the mental health of the pregnant woman.   Sub­section (1)(b)(i) of territory   3  refers   to   a   risk   endangered  to   a   profound lady   that   includes   even   damage   in   honour   of   mental health.   There shall not be reason to doubt that since pregnancy   in   a   benefaction   matter   is   as   a   outcome   of offence of rape, it causes a huge mental trauma and such inference is in consonance with explanation 1 to section 3(1) of the Act of 1971.“

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12. Moreover, in the above decision, the decision of a   Hon’ble   Supreme   Court   in   a   box   of  Suchita Srivastava Vs. Chandigarh Administration, 2009(9) SCC 1, was referred wherein it has been observed that there is no   doubt   that   a   woman’s   right   to   make   reproductive choices   is   also   a   dimension   of   “personal   liberty”   as understood under Article 21 of the Constitution of India. It is important to recognize that productive choice can be   exercised   to   multiply   as   good   as   to   refrain   from procreating.     Moreover,   in   para   19   of   a   aforesaid judgment, the Apex Court has observed as under :­ “19. As evident from its literal description, the “Best interests”   exam   requires   a   Court   to   discern   a course of action which would serve the best interests of a   chairman   in   question.     In   a   benefaction   sourroundings   this means that the Court must undertake a careful inquiry of the medical opinion on the feasibility of the pregnancy as   good   as   amicable   resources   forced   by   a   victim. It is important to note that the Court’s decision should be guided by the interests of the victim alone and not those of other stakeholders such as guardians or society in general.   It is evident that the woman in question will need care and assistance which will in turn entail some   costs.     However,   that   can't   be   a   belligerent   for denying the exercise of reproductive rights.”

13. This Court in the case of “X” Vs. Union of India   Ors.   in   W.P.9915   of   2017  (Coram   :   R.M.Borde     S.M. Gavhane,   JJ)   motionless   on   10.08.2017   celebrated   that Explanation 1 to section 3 records that where the pregnancy is alleged by the pregnant woman to have been caused by rape, a   agonise   caused   by   such   pregnancy   can   be   reputed   to consecrate   a   grave   damage   to   a   mental   health   of   a pregnant woman.  Sub­section (1)(b)(i) of section 3 refers to the risk involved to the pregnant woman which includes even damage   in   honour   of   mental   health.     There   shall   not   be reason to doubt that since pregnancy in the instant matter is as   a   outcome   of   corruption   of   rape,   it   causes   a   outrageous   mental mishap   and   such   deduction   is   in   accord   with explanation 1 to section 3(1) of the MTP Act.   It was further observed that it must be noted that the pregnancy carried by petitioner is as a result of physical abuse thrust against her and that she has a choice whether to continue with such pregnancy which is result of offence against her person.   The freedom of making choice by a woman which is integral part of personal liberty cannot be taken away.  It shall also be taken into consideration that besides physical injury, the legislature has widened the scope of term injury by including injury to mental health of a pregnant woman.  If continuation of pregnancy is harmful to mental health of a pregnant woman, then it shall be construed as a good legal ground for permitting her   to   cancel   pregnancy   and,   given   in   a   benefaction matter,   pregnancy   is   purported   to   be   as   a   outcome   of physical abuse, in view of section 5 of the MTP Act, the choice   of   a   plant   of   rape   of   terminating   neglected pregnancy needs to be respected.   Observations made by Division Bench of this Court in Suo Motu Public Interest Litigation no. 1/2016 in the matter of High Court on its possess   suit   Vs.   The   State   of   Maharashtra    reported   in LEX(BOM)   2016   9   page   114,   in   divide   no.   13   of   a judgment are relevant for consideration which read thus :

13. A woman irrespective of her marital status can be pregnant either by choice or it can be an   neglected   pregnancy.     To   be   profound   is     a natural phenomenon for which woman and man both are   responsible.     Wanted   pregnancy   is   common equally,   however,   when   it   is   an   collision   or unwanted,   afterwards   a   male   might   not   be   there   to share the burden but it may only be the woman on   whom   a   weight   falls.   Under   such circumstances,   a   doubt   arises   since   usually   a lady   should   suffer.     There   are   social, financial   and   other   aspects   immediately attached to the pregnancy of the   woman and if pregnancy   is   unwanted,   it   can   have   critical repercussions.     it   positively   affects   her mental health.   The law makers have taken care of helpless plight of a woman and have enacted Section   3(2)(b)(i)   by   incorporating   a   difference “grave   damage   to   her   mental   health”.     It   is imperative   on   a   purebred   medical practitioner while forming opinion of necessity of   stop   of   pregnancy   to   take   into account whether it is injurious to her physical or mental health.   While doing so, the woman’s tangible   or   reasonable   foreseeable   sourroundings may be taken into account.

14. In the case of  “X” Vs. Union of India (Supra), this Court has also observed that apart from danger to the life of the petitioner, this Court has to take note of the psychological trauma the petitioner is undergoing as a result of carrying unwanted pregnancy.  As has been stated above, the freedom of petitioner to make choice to terminate unwanted pregnancy which is result of physical abuse needs to be respected and such freedom of choice shall   have   to   be   construed   as   constituent   partial   of   her personal liberty.

15. In the present case, the date of birth of the postulant   is   05.01.2001.     On   a   date   of   filing   of petition   on   15.01.2018,   she   finished   17   years   of   her age.  Thus, there is no dispute that she is a minor being next   18   years   of   age   and   therefore   she   filed   this petition through her father – the guardian.  On complaint of   her   father,   crime   was   purebred   in   Kingaon   Police Station,   Dist.   Latur,   primarily   for   a   corruption punishable under section 363 read with section 34 of the IPC against Vikas and his father and then after recording statement of the victim, offence under sections 376 of a   IPC   was   added.   Thus,   it   is   transparent   that   a   teenager victim who claims termination of pregnancy by filing this petition  through her  father is a victim of  rape.   The report of the expert committee under the MTP Act, 1971 shows that current pregnancy of the victim is of around 16.2   weeks.     Thus,   it   is   transparent   that   length   of   a pregnancy   of   a   plant   exceeds   12   weeks   though   does   not surpass   20   weeks   and   hence   pronounced   pregnancy   can   be consummated   by   purebred   medical   practitioners,   if   not reduction   than   dual   purebred   medical   practitioners   are   of opinion   shaped   in   good   faith   that   delay   of pregnancy   would   engage   a   risk   to   a   life   of   a profound   lady   or   of   grave   damage   to   her   earthy   or mental health; or there is a substantial risk that if the child were born, it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped, in the light of provisions under section 3 (2)(b) (i) and (ii) of the MTP Act.

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16. In   a   benefaction   case,   from   a   conclusions recorded by the expert committee under the MTP Act, in a   news   (Exh.”X”),   it   is   not   settled   that   there   is substantial risk if the child is born, in the light of sub­clause   (ii)   of   proviso   (b)   of   sub­section(2)   of territory   3   of   a   MTP   Act.       However,   deliberation   a contentions in the petition that the pregnancy is caused by   rape,   a   box   of   a   postulant   falls   underneath   subclause (i) of clause (b) of sub­section(2) of section 3 of the MTP Act.

17. Keeping   this   in   view,   now   it   is   to   be   seen whether the victim in the present case can be allowed to terminate the pregnancy in the light of aforesaid said provision.  The expert committee in its report gave four conclusions   referred   in   fact   in   para   No.   9   (supra). Amongst said conclusions, conclusion No.3 is that under a   Medical   Termination   of   Pregnancy   Act,   1971   (34   of 1971) under clause 3 of 2 on humanitarian grounds such as when   pregnancy   arises   from   a   sex   crime   like   rape   or intercourse with a “mentally ill person” etc.; when the length of pregnancy is less than 20 weeks.

18. It   appears   from   a   above   end   that   in box   pregnancy   arises   from   sex   crime   like   rape   or intercourse with mentally ill person and when the length of   a   pregnancy   is   reduction   than   20   weeks,   there   can   be termination under the MTP Act.  This conclusion does not state   that   in   box   pregnancy   of   a   benefaction   plant   is allowed to continue, the same would involve risk to the life  of the victim  or grave injury to her physical  or mental health.  However, from the above referred admitted contribution   that   a   plant   is   profound   since   of   rape   and crime is registered against the accused for the offence punishable under section 376 of the IPC, it can be said that said pregnancy has been foist on the victim against her   wish   and   pronounced   pregnancy   is   neglected   pregnancy. Therefore,   agonise   caused   by   such   pregnancy   shall   be reputed   to   consecrate   a   grave   damage   to   a   mental health of the pregnant woman, as per Explanation 1 under section 3 referred to above.  Another reason to hold so is that admittedly the victim is taking education in 10th standard and she is residing in the village.  Therefore, she will have to face to the blame of the society, if she continues   with   a   pregnancy   and   even   it   would   be formidable   for   her   to   continue   with   her   education. Naturally,   therefore   pronounced   pregnancy   would   means   outrageous trauma to victim.  As the petitioner victim is minor, the petition  is filed by her  father – guardian. As she  is minor, as per sub­section (4) of section 3 of the MTP Act ,   agree   in   essay   of   her   defender   is   compulsory   to terminate pregnancy.   However, considering her age i.e. 17 years, on her request through her Counsel, in order to know   her   wish   when   listened   in   a   Chamber,   she   also disclosed that it is difficult for her to show her face to   a   people   in   a   encampment   and   propagandize   due   to   a pregnancy   with   that   does   not   wish   to   continue.     The consultant   cabinet   end   also   shows   that   risk   of stop   of   pregnancy   is   within   normal   excusable limits. In these circumstances, for the reasons discussed above, we hold that there is no impediment in allowing the petitioner – victim to terminate her pregnancy.

19. Learned   warn   for   petitioner,   states   on instructions, that the petitioner would like to complete the procedure of termination of pregnancy at Government Medical College, Latur, which is approved as per section 4 of the MTP Act as informed by the Government Pleader. The   Dean   of   Government   Medical   College,   Latur   is   so destined   to   forthwith   finish   a   procession   of stop   of   pregnancy   of   teenager   postulant   underneath organisation   of   a   group   of   medical   experts   after obtaining consent in writing of guardian as per law.  Two members of the team shall be experts in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

20. Since   according   to   petitioner,   a   pregnancy carried   by   her   is   as   a   outcome   of   corruption   of   rape, complaint has already been lodged and the matter is under investigation,   a   Dean,   Government   Medical   College, Latur   is   destined   to   safety   hankie   representation   and   blood sample of the foetus for carrying out necessary medical tests   including   DNA,   finger   printing/mapping.     The Investigating   Officer   conducting   review   in   a matter shall ensure that the samples of tissues and blood etc.   shall   be   forwarded   to   a   Regional   Forensic Laboratory, Aurangabad, for DNA, Finger printing/mapping and   for   carrying   compulsory   tests   and   a   samples   and report shall be preserved for the purpose of trial of the offence.

21. It is made clear that the Doctor who have put their opinions on record shall have the immunity in the event of occurrence of any litigation arising out of the instant petition.

22. Rule is accordingly made absolute.  There shall be no order as to costs.

23. Parties   and   all   endangered   to   act   on authenticated copy of this judgment


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