Read Judgement: Surjeet Kaur and another v. State of Haryana and another

LE Correspondent

Chandigarh, August 13, 2021: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has permitted a woman to undergo medical termination of her 22-week pregnancy after it was contended that the foetus carried  by her had been diagnosed with major congenital malformation – ‘amniotic sac rupture’ – resulting in leakage of amniotic fluid causing high risk to the mother due to severe womb infection.

The petitioner moved the High Court since the foetus was a little over 21 weeks in gestational age and legally medical termination of pregnancy could not be carried out. 

The Permanent Medical Board for Medical Termination of Pregnancy, PGIMER, Chandigarh, with reference to the order passed on August 9, 2021, in this petition, was asked to examine the petitioner for an evaluation for advisability of medical termination of pregnancy.

The Report of the Medical Board made it clear that the period of gestation is 22 weeks and 3 days with single live intrauterine pregnancy with severe oligohydramnios (severely reduced amniotic fluid around the foetus) and distended renal pelvis.

The report suggested that severely reduced amniotic fluid before 22 weeks of gestation can lead to poorly developed lungs of the foetus (pulmonary hypoplasia) and reduced chances of survival at birth.

Hence, pregnancy termination was recommended as this condition could cause problems in both the patient and her foetus.

Now deciding upon the petitioner’s Appeal, the bench of Justice Lisa Gill has stated that the Permanent Medical Board has recommended that the petitioner may undergo medical termination of pregnancy at this stage due to amniotic sac rupture resulting in leakage of amniotic fluid causing high risk to the mother due to severe womb infection as well as to the foetus who can have poorly developed lungs and reduced chances of survival at birth.

It was also brought to the Court’s attention that the 32-year-old petitioner wishes to go ahead with medical termination of her pregnancy

Thus, keeping in view the categoric opinion of the Medical Board, the medical termination of pregnancy of the petitioner has been permitted by the Court.

It has also been directed by the HC that the Petitioner shall remain present at the office of the Medical Superintendent, PGIMER, Chandigarh on August 13,2021 at 10.00 a.m., for admission and necessary steps be taken for medical termination of pregnancy. 

“Needless to say, due care and medical treatment be made available to petitioner no.1. In case petitioner no.1 needs any further care after the procedure, the same be also provided to her,” the Bench held.

On the submission regarding the situation that the petitioner is poor, the Bench has clarified that in case the petitioner is found eligible under any of the scheme/s as available in PGIMER, benefit thereof be extended to her.

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