Woman forced to approach Delhi High Court for MTP at 20 weeks 1 day

Neha Devi v. Government of NCT of Delhi Writ Petition (Civil) No. 4140 of 2020 | Delhi High Court | Status: Disposed Of | |

This Writ Petition seeks permission for Medical Termination of Pregnancy for the Petitioner, Neha Devi who is pregnant at a gestation age of 20 weeks 1 day. The Right to Abortion is governed by the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. The Act defines, who, where and under what circumstances can provide and avail medical termination of pregnancy. Section 3 (2) (b) of the Act sets 20 weeks of gestation as the limit beyond which a pregnant woman cannot seek termination. The said provision also states that termination between 12 to 20 weeks can be sought on two grounds, i) if the continuation of pregnancy involves risk to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman and ii) if the child were to be born it would suffer from such physical or mental abnormalities as to be seriously handicapped. The only exception to this is Section 5 (1) of the Act which states that the limit prescribed in Section 3 of the Act will not apply if two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion that termination of pregnancy is necessary to save the life of the mother.


The petitioner in the present case found out at 20 weeks 1 day that the fetus suffers from multiple physical and mental abnormalities which make the fetus incompatible with life. As the petitioner had crossed the gestation limit prescribed in the Act by a mere 1 day, the petitioner was forced to approach the Delhi High Court to seek permission for termination of pregnancy.


The Hon’ble Delhi High Court directed All India Institute of Medical Sciences to form a medical board and assess the petitioner and the condition of the fetus to ascertain if it was safe for the petitioner to undergo a termination of pregnancy. The said committee after assessing the petitioner and conducting necessary test submitted a report confirming that the fetus suffered from multiple physical and mental abnormalities and that it is safe for the petitioner to undergo medical termination of pregnancy. Accordingly, the Court passed final order in the matter allowing permission to the petitioner to undergo medical termination of pregnancy.