India

SC refuses urgent hearing on plea against abortion law

SC refuses urgent hearing on plea against abortion law

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today refused to accord urgent hearing to a plea challenging the constitutional validity of a legal provision that prohibits abortion of a 20-week-old foetus, saying there were “very important national issues” pending adjudication.

“There are very important national issues which are in queue to be adjudicated by court and it is not possible now to decide the petition on abortion,” a bench comprising Chief Justice J S Khehar and Justices D Y Chandrachud and S K Kaul said.

The bench, however, said it would list the matter for adjudication after it decides “national important issues”.

The submission for urgent hearing on the plea was advanced by senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, representing a Maharashtra woman who was barred by the apex court on February 28 to abort her 26-week-old foetus suffering from congenital disorder ‘Down Syndrome’.

The woman has challenged the validity of a provision of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act which prohibits abortion of foetus which are 20-week-old or more.

The apex court, in recent times, has made exceptions and allowed women to terminate their pregnancies if they posed a threat to the life of the mothers.

In January, the court had allowed a Mumbai-based woman to abort her 24-week-old foetus as the medical report suggested that the foetus lacked skull and there was no possibility of its survival after birth.

However, the woman, who has filed the instant petition against the MTP Act provision, was not allowed to abort her foetus afflicted with ‘Down Syndrome’ on February 28, saying “we have a life in our hands” and there was no report to suggest that it posed threat to her life.

Down syndrome is a congenital disorder which causes intellectual impairment and physical abnormalities.

–PTI