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Delhi HC reserves order on plea of widow seeking termination of pregnancy, suffering from depression


New Delhi [India]: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved the order on the plea of a widow seeking permission to medically terminate her 27-week pregnancy. She is said to be suffering from severe depression.

Justice Subramonium Prasad, after hearing the submissions of the petitioner’s counsel and further psychiatric evaluation of the petitioner, reserved the order for Thursday.

Her counsel, Dr Amit Mishra, submitted before the court that she was admitted to the hospital but she left as the doctors were persuading her to continue with the pregnancy.

Forcing her to continue the pregnancy is an attack on her privacy, her counsel submitted.
The bench observed that the apex court judgement allowed termination even at this stage. The petitioner’s mental status has now changed the circumstances.

Earlier on Saturday, the vacation bench of Delhi High Court had called from the Department of Psychiatry of the AIIMS Hospital as to whether, in her state of severe depression with suicidal ideation, it would be detrimental to her health if this pregnancy were permitted to be continued for its full term.

The high court was hearing the petition of a woman who is stated to be 27 weeks pregnant. She has sought permission for the medical termination of her pregnancy.

After considering the psychiatric evaluation report from AIIMS, vacation judge Neena Krishna Bansal ordered a further psychiatric evaluation report.

The Department of Psychiatry of the AIIMS Hospital filed a report stating that the petitioner was evaluated on December 28, 2023.

She was found to be suffering from severe depression with suicidal ideation, the report stated.
In view of the risk to self and others (the foetus), the patient and family were advised admission, to which they agreed. The patient is admitted to the psychiatry ward at AIIMS Hospital, the bench noted.

Earlier, the high court had directed AIIMS to conduct a psychiatric evaluation of a 23-year-old widow who had sought permission for medical termination of her pregnancy.

The medical board had not recommended a medical termination of pregnancy.

Before issuing direction, the bench heard the submission of Advocate Dr Amit Mishra, counsel for the petitioner.

He had submitted before the court that she was facing mental trauma due to the pregnancy. There are judgements that allow the termination of a pregnancy at an advanced stage.

He had also submitted that the petitioner is facing mental and physical trauma. Even so, she is not able to take a meal.

A 23-year-old woman has approached the court. It is stated that her husband died on October 9, 2023.
On December 22, 2023, the bench asked the AIIMS to constitute a medical board and to examine the petitioner.

The bench had been directed to report as to whether the petitioner is in a condition to undergo the procedure for termination of pregnancy.

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