Bombay HC Seeks Govt Response On Plea Seeking Awareness About Existing Medical Boards Under MTP

Bombay HC Seeks Govt Response On Plea Seeking Awareness About Existing Medical Boards Under MTP

The boards comprise a gynaecologist, paediatrician, radiologist and other members notified by the state

FPJ News ServiceUpdated: Sunday, October 22, 2023, 09:01 PM IST
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Bombay High Court | File

The Bombay High Court has sought a response from the Maharashtra government on various suggestions to help create awareness about existing medical boards set up under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act, 2021.

Under the MTP Act, medical boards adjudicate upon cases of pregnant women seeking termination of pregnancy above 24 weeks, and whether the reason for seeking such termination is foetal anomalies. The boards comprise of a gynaecologist, paediatrician, radiologist and other members notified by the state.

The direction was passed recently while allowing a 32-year-old woman to terminate her 26-week pregnancy following the medical board’s assessment that the woman was physically and mentally suitable for the procedure.

After the petitioner successfully medically terminated her pregnancy, her advocates Anubha Rastogi and Rachita Padwal submitted that despite amendments to the Act, medical boards have not been set up at several places, and if set up, people are not aware of them.

Suggestions to help create awareness

The advocates also submitted some suggestions to help create awareness about existing medical boards. It included providing a list of medical boards and their contact details to government hospitals, health services under the National Health Mission, and primary and community healthcare centres.

This list should be given to the Federation of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (FOGSI), so that private doctors know about the boards, and can refer patients who require the opinion of a medical board related to the termination of pregnancy. In addition, this list should also be given to the radiologists/sonologists association whose members detect anomalies during the checkup, and inform pregnant women or their families about how to access the boards.

The list of medical boards should be included in Information, Education and Communication (IEC) tools of NGOs working on reproductive health issues at the grassroot level, and material and information be disseminated to district and sub-district level functionaries having a direct interface with beneficiaries and their families.

The Centre’s information poster about community awareness can be translated into Marathi and other local languages.

A division bench of Justices Revati Mohite-Dere and Gauri Godse, on October 17, asked state advocate Himanshu Takke to take instructions from the authorities and kept the matter for hearing on November 7.

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