Guardian nod not needed for abortion of a retarded woman: SC
By Team Legistify / 2017-08-19

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There is no need for the consent of guardians for medical termination of pregnancy of a mentally retarded woman as the concept of “sovereignty over her body” has to be respected, the Supreme Court today said.

The apex court has held that the fundamental concept relating to a woman’s “bodily integrity” and “personal autonomy” have to be given due respect.

A bench headed by Justice Dipak Misra awarded additional Rs 10 lakh compensation to a mildly mentally retarded destitute woman who was allegedly raped but not allowed to abort her 26-week pregnancy after a medical board’s opinion that the abortion could risk her life.

“The fundamental concept relating to bodily integrity, personal autonomy and sovereignty over her body have to be given requisite respect while taking the decision and the concept of consent by a guardian in the case of a major should not be over emphasised,” the bench, also comprising Justices Amitava Roy and A M Khanwilkar, said.

Referring to an earlier verdict of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, the bench said it was held that a guardian can take decisions on behalf of a “mentally ill person” as per provisions of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act of 1971.

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