A legal precedent: reproductive rights of mentally retarded persons in India

Renu Addlakha

DOI: 10.20529/IJME.2010.013


The reader is familiar with details of this landmark case: in the first instance, the Chandigarh Administration petitioned the Punjab and Haryana High Court (HC) to terminate the pregnancy of a 19-or 20-year-old, unmarried, mildly/moderately mentally retarded, orphaned, pregnant woman residing in a state-run institution for the mentally challenged in Chandigarh. The HC in its orders dated June 9 and July 17, 2009, permitted termination. Subsequently, the young woman petitioned the Supreme Court (SC) through her advocate, to be allowed to continue with her pregnancy against the order of the HC. Due to the urgency of the situation requiring a decision before the statutory 20-week limit of legal abortion, the SC passed an order immediately. The order was in favour of the petitioner to continue with the pregnancy.

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