Kerala High Court on Monday granted an order to terminate the pregnancy of a mentally disabled woman from Bihar as it believed that she was not in the state of mind to take such a big decision.


In the present case, a woman was found roaming the street and was not in good mental condition. So she was first taken to a Police Station nearby then police took her to Mental Health Centre. At the Mental Health Centre, it was found that the woman is pregnant and is also mentally unstable. Police were not able to find her for her family or relative and it was also found that she was raped. So the Health Centre filed a petition asking the court to grant permission to terminate her pregnancy as she is not in the proper state of mind to conceive a child. A report from the medical board stated that the woman is suffering from mental retardation with psychosis due to which she is consuming multiple antipsychotic medications. As a result of the medication, there is a high risk for the woman and child.


Kerala High Court took up the matter on 16th June and ordered the Permanent Medical Board to submit a report on whether the termination of pregnancy won’t put the life of the woman in danger and to determine whether she is capable of communicating or giving her consent. The report stated that terminating her pregnancy will not be endangering for her and her not in a position to give her consent in the matter. On Monday after going through the report High Court bench Justice P. B Suresh Kumar applied the doctrine of ‘parens patriae’ and permitted terminating her pregnancy stating that the decision is taken in her best interest as the continuation of the pregnancy may affect her mental health even more.


  • The Judgment was given against Section 3(4)(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 but the relative family members of the relatives are Victims was not able to trace and the woman was not in the condition of giving her consent so Justice P. B Suresh Kumar passed an order by applying the doctrine of ‘parens patriae’ as it was its best interest of the Victim.

What is the Doctrine of “parens patriae”?

Parens Patriae in Latin means “parent of the nation”. In law, it refers to the power given to the state to step in, in case of an abusive or negligent parent, legal guardian, or informal caretaker, and to act as the parent of any child or individual who requires protection.

As per which Act the petition for termination of pregnancy filed by the court?

According to Section 3(4)(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 the petition for the termination of pregnancy was filed.

What does Section 3(4)(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 state?

As per Section 3(4)(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 no pregnancy of a woman, who has not attained the age of eighteen years, or, who, having attained the age of eighteen years, is mentally ill, shall be terminated except with the consent in writing of her guardian.

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