Abortions : Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

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Context

  • Abortion has been legalised in India under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act since 1971.
  • According to the Act, abortion can be provided at the discretion of a medical provider under certain conditions.
  • Act had two goals — to control the population resulting from unintended pregnancies and to reduce the increasing maternal mortality and morbidity due to illegal, unsafe abortions.

 

Need of amendments now:

  • It was just a year ago when a 10-year-old girl got pregnant after being raped by her uncles.
  • Both the Punjab and Haryana High Court and Supreme Court, advised by a doctors’ panel, refusing her permission to terminate it.
  • Hence timely justice to our women and young girl was denied.

 

Current scenario

  • Act has limitations that pose barriers to women and girls seeking legal abortions.
  • Though abortion was legalised almost 50 years ago, a woman’s right to decide for herself, did not and still does not fall within the intent or ambit of the MTP Act.
  • Currently, the Act allows abortion up to 20 weeks.
  • However, when it comes to foetal abnormalities and pregnancies resulting from rape, this limit is proving to be a hurdle for both the woman and the provider.
  • Women seeking an abortion after the legal gestation limit ,often have no option but to appeal to the courts and run from pillar to post for permission to terminate the pregnancy.

 

Amendments suggested by Ministry:

  • In 2014, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare recognised these barriers and proposed certain amendments to the Act.
  • Thus an increasing in the gestation limit from 20 to 24 weeks for rape survivors and other vulnerable women and removing the gestation limit in case of foetal abnormalities was brought in.
  • In 2017, these amendments were returned to the ministry with the mandate to strengthen the implementation of the MTP Act as it stands.

 

Result of denial of abortions:

  • Many women, when denied legal abortions, turn to unqualified providers or adopt unsafe methods of termination.
  • Estimates based on the Sample Registration System (SRS) 2001-03, indicate that unsafe abortions account for 8 percent of maternal deaths in India.
  • Adopting and implementing the amendments will take us a few steps closer towards ensuring that all girls and women have access to safe abortion services.
  • According to a study published in The Lancet recently, 15.6 million abortions took place in India in 2015 out of which about 11.5 million took place outside health facilities.

 

Conclusion

  • Abortion is at the centre of global conversations on reproductive health and rights.
  • India had once led this in the forefront by legalising abortions.
  • Hence its the time to regain the position and make it personalised according to the needs of the hour.

 ias4sure.com - Abortions Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act

Source:

https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/india-abortion-laws-mtp-act-supreme-court-pocso-5308892/

Adultery : Section 497 of IPC

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Meaning of Adultery: voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and a person who is not their spouse.

 

Petition:

  • Drop adultery as a criminal offence from the statute book.
  • The petition challenges the validity of Section 198 (1) and (2) of the Code of Criminal Procedure which deems that only a husband can be an aggrieved party in offences against marriage like adultery and only he can go to court.

 

Supreme Court observations:

  • The dusty Victorian provision of adultery in the Indian Penal Code treats a married woman as her husband’s “subordinate.”
  • Time has come when the society must realise that a woman is equal to a man in every respect.

 

Section 497:

  • Section 497 of the IPC mandates that “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery and shall be punished.”
  • Section 497 is a kind of “romantic paternalism,” which stemmed from the assumption that women, like chattels, are the property of men.
  • Section 497 gave husbands the exclusive right as an aggrieved party to prosecute the adulterer in a case involving his wife, a similar right has not been conferred on a wife to prosecute the woman with whom her husband has committed adultery.

 

Wife has no right to prosecute her husband:

  • The provision does not confer any right on the wife to prosecute her husband for adultery. The law also does not take into account cases where the husband has sexual relations with an unmarried woman. Thus, the provision deems that “husbands have a free licence under the law to have extra-marital relationships with unmarried women.”

 

Court to examine two provisions:

  1. Why does Section 497 treat the man as the adulterer and the married woman as a victim.
  2. The offence of adultery ceases the moment it is established that the husband connived or consented to the adulterous act. So, is a married woman the “property” of her husband or a passive object without a mind of her own?

 

Government’s stand

  • Centre said the provision punishing adultery – Section 497 of IPC – supports, safeguards and protects the institution of marriage considering the unique structure and culture of Indian society.
  • The government agreed to the thought that stability of a marriage is not an ideal to be scorned and striking down Section 497 would destroy the fabric of society itself.

 

Key facts:

  • The apex court had earlier on three separate occasions, in 1954, 1985 and 1988, upheld the constitutionality of Section 497.

 

 cna22

 

SC Final Verdict:

  • The law became defunct on 27 Sep 2018 by Supreme Court of India.
  • The Supreme Court called the law unconstitutional because it “treats a husband as the master.”
  • Bench held adultery is not a crime and struck it off the Indian Penal Code.
  • Two individuals may part if one cheats, but to attach criminality to infidelity is going too far.
  • How married couples deal with adultery is absolutely a matter of privacy.
  • Punishing each other or the wife’s lover is unlikely to re-kindle commitment.

 

Source:

http://www.thehindu.com/news/national/supreme-court-agrees-to-examine-adultery-provision-in-ipc/article21296775.ece