Case Description

The Supreme Court will decide if sections 3 and 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 violate Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution. 

Background

The petitioners contend that exercising reproductive choice is a fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution as it lies in the core of privacy and dignity. Further, they contend that the choice of abortion and right to safe abortion is an important facet of the right to health under Article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, they challenge section 3(2), explanation 2 to section 3(2), section 3(4) and section 5 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. They also plead the establishment of safe abortion clinics to reduce maternal mortality as a positive obligation of the State under Article 21’s guarantee of the right to health. 

 

 

Issues

1. Does section 3(2)(a) violate Articles 14 and 21 by imposing severe restrictions and failing the tests of reasonability and proportionality?

2. Does section 3(2)(b) impose an excessive restriction by limiting eligible length of pregnancy, for abortion, to 20 weeks?

3. Does explanation 2 to section 3(2) violate Article 14 by discriminating against unmarried women?

4. Does section 3(4)(a) violate Article 21 by giving the guardian complete authority over individual’s right of reproductive choice?

5. Does section 5 violate Article 21 by imposing the excessive and arbitrary condition of immediate necessity to save life?

6. Is the State obligated to provide safe abortion clinics and facilities under Article 21 of the Constitution?

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