Parliament made provisions in interests of women, says SC, refuses to entertain plea on MTP Act

The Supreme Court on Friday refused to entertain a petition challenging certain sections of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, saying Parliament has made some provisions in the interests of women.

A bench comprising Chief Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justices J B Pardiwala and Manoj Misra told the counsel appearing for the petitioner to approach the high court.

“Go to the high court. Anyway, you are challenging the provisions of the MTP Act on the ground that these protection should not be given to women,” the bench observed.

The counsel representing the petitioner organisation told the bench they have challenged some provisions of the MTP Act.

He said their main submission is that a registered medical practitioner is a trained gynaecologist and he/she cannot assess the mental condition of a woman for terminating pregnancy.

“What locus do you have? How are you affected?” the bench asked.

The counsel said it is a public interest litigation (PIL).

“What public interest litigation? To challenge the provisions of the MTP Act?” the bench said, adding, “Parliament has made some provisions in the interests of women…”

The petitioner’s counsel referred to section 3 of the MTP Act which deals with the issue of when pregnancies may be terminated by registered medical practitioners.

“You better withdraw it,” the bench told the counsel.

The lawyer then urged the apex court to grant him liberty to approach the high court.

“The petitioner seeks to withdraw the petition to enable the petitioner to move the competent high court. The petition is dismissed as withdrawn,” the bench said.

In a significant order delivered in July last year, the apex court had expanded the scope of the MTP Act to include unmarried women and allowed a 25-year-old woman to abort her 24-week pregnancy arising out of a consensual relationship.

The top court had said, “A woman’s right to reproductive choice is an inseparable part of her personal liberty under Article 21 of the Constitution and she has a sacrosanct right to bodily integrity.” 

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