A medical board will be set up at a Mumbai hospital to examine the condition of an alleged rape survivor who wants to abort her 24-week-old “abnormal” foetus, the Supreme Court said on Friday.
A bench headed by Justice JS Khehar asked the medical board to examine the woman at King Edward Memorial College and Hospital at Mumbai by Saturday and submit its report to the apex court on Monday.
The bench also comprising Justice Arun Mishra said the report of the medical board with regard to the woman’s condition will be assessed and if necessary, some directions will be passed.
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the woman, will ensure that she reaches the hospital by Saturday for her examination, it said.
Solicitor general Ranjit Kumar said that the Centre was ready to constitute a medical board at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) where the woman could be examined.
Gonsalves said that the condition of the woman, who is presently in Mumbai, is very bad and she will not be able to travel to Delhi.
“Delay in these matters is very bad. There should not be any delay in these matters,” the bench said, adding that a larger issue of law will be dealt with separately.
“The issue at hand is not that simple. It will be dealt with separately,” it said.
The apex court had sought reply from the Centre and the Maharashtra government on the plea of the woman on Thursday.
The alleged rape survivor has also challenged the constitutional validity of the provisions of abortion law, which prohibits termination of pregnancy after 20 weeks even if there is a fatal risk to the mother and the foetus.
In her petition, the woman has alleged that she was raped by her ex-fiance on the false promise of marriage and became pregnant. She has sought a direction to quash section 3 (2)(b) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 to the extent that it puts a ceiling of 20 weeks for an abortion as it is ultra vires to Article 14 and 21 of Constitution.
Her plea contended that the ceiling is unreasonable, arbitrary, harsh, discriminatory and violative of the right to life and equality.