SC grants Centre four weeks to respond to plea against age restriction
Conducting pre-natal diagnostic tests
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday granted the Centre four weeks to file its response to a plea on the age restriction of 35 years on women for conducting pre-conception and pre-natal diagnostic tests.
The matter came up for hearing before a bench of Justices S K Kaul and A S Oka.
The counsel appearing for the Centre requested for some time to file the response confined to the aspect on which the court had issued notice on October 17 last year.
“Counsel for the respondent seeks time to file counter affidavit… needful be done within four weeks,” the bench said, adding that rejoinder, if any, be filed within two weeks thereafter.
The top court posted the plea, filed by advocate Meera Kaura Patel, for hearing after eight weeks.
In its October 17, 2022 order, the bench had noted the petitioner had referred to section 4(3)(i) of the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques (Prohibition of Sex Selection) Act, 1994 to contend that the age limit of 35 years is a restriction on the reproductive rights of women.
As per the provision of the Act, no pre-natal diagnostic techniques shall be used or conducted on a pregnant woman below 35 years of age.
In a significant ruling on reproductive rights of women, the apex court had earlier held that all women are entitled to safe and legal abortion till 24 weeks of pregnancy under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, and making any distinction on the basis of their marital status is “constitutionally unsustainable”.