Two Courts, Two Conclusions: Abortion Law in India


Gauri Pillai


Blog post

source publication

Indian Constitutional Law and Philosophy


On 15 July 2022, the Delhi High Court, in Ms X v The Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare Department Government of NCT of Delhi (‘Ms X’), denied an unmarried woman permission to terminate her unwanted pregnancy at 23 weeks under Section 3 of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. A week later, through an ad-interim order, the Supreme Court allowed the woman’s appeal against the Delhi High Court’s order, permitting termination as long as a Medical Board confirms that abortion is medically safe for the pregnant woman. In this post, I discuss both these orders, which differ not just in their outcomes but also their reading of the law, and the factors they take into account in decision-making. But first, I briefly set out the legislative framework governing abortion in India.



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