Observing that “courts in their endeavour to do justice need not function in a narrow straitjacket manner and need to have larger perspective of the human sufferings”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has allowed a couple to get their foetus aborted subject to advice of expert medical professionals.
The petitioner, a couple from Chandigarh, had approached the High Court, seeking permission to abort the foetus.
The petitioner had contended before the HC that as per the medical examination of the pregnancy, the foetus shows that there is “hydrocephalus with lumbo sacral spina bifida an meningomyelocoele with muld polyhydraminos”. Therefore, continuation of the pregnancy would be dangerous for the life of the child.
On hearing the plea of the couple, the HC had directed the PGIMER to constitute a board and submit a report.
The PGIMER in its report submitted that “patient may undergo termination of pregnancy at this gestation in view of severe congenital developmental abnormality with features consistent with neural tube defectArnold Chiari malformation Type-2 in the fetus”.
After going through the report, the HC Bench of Justice Fatehdeep Singh held that the report shows that there is certain serious medical congenital defect in the foetus. The mother is a major and is in a sound state. The medical board is of the opinion that since the pregnancy is of 25 weeks, its termination is possible by means of ultrasound-guided injection of potassium chloride.
Noting that even if the child is born, it would keep suffering from serious health issues, the Bench observed, “The courts in their endeavour to do justice need not function in a narrow strait jacket manner and need to have larger perspective of the human sufferings, bonds and desires and thereby ensure that a legal and legitimate relief to the party is not denied on religious dogmas and societal misbeliefs.”
The Bench allowed the petitioners to get the foetus aborted subject to advice of the specialised medical professionals conducting abortion as per provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971.
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