The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to grant early hearing to a plea challenging the constitutional validity of a law that prohibits abortion of a 20-week-old foetus.
A bench headed by Chief Justice JS Khehar said there were more important national issues pending before it, awaiting adjudication. The petitions, if at all, could be heard only in July, it indicated.
“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,” the bench told senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, who mentioned the petitions.
Gonsalves appeared for a woman whose plea to terminate her 26-week-old foetus suffering from Down’s Syndrome was turned down by the top court on February 28.
The court took note of a medical opinion that did not favour dropping the foetus because there were chances of its survival after birth. However, the bench observed orally that it would be sad for a mother to raise a mentally-handicapped child.
The woman is one of the petitioners to have moved the top court questioning the restriction on women from aborting despite medical records affirming complications in the unborn child.
In recent times, the top court has made exceptions and allowed women to terminate their pregnancies if they posed a threat to the life of the mothers and the baby.
In January, the court allowed a Mumbai-based woman to abort her 24-week-old foetus as the medical report suggested that the foetus lacked a skull and there was no possibility of its survival after birth.