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Updated: February 29, 2012 15:51 IST

She, the decision maker

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A mother along with her child seen at the general hospital at the Mandi Kheda village in the Mewat region in Rajathan. Photo: S_Subramanium.
A mother along with her child seen at the general hospital at the Mandi Kheda village in the Mewat region in Rajathan. Photo: S_Subramanium.

In a significant decision, the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week ruled that the right to abort a pregnancy in a marriage rests with the wife and not husband.

“A woman is not a machine in which raw material is put and a finished product comes out. She should be mentally prepared to conceive, continue the same and give birth to a child. The unwanted pregnancy would naturally affect the mental health of the pregnant woman…” said the court.

Stressing that marital intimacy between a couple does not automatically translate to the woman's consent to child bearing, Justice Jitendra Chauhan said, “Mere consent to conjugal rights does not mean consent to give birth to a child for her husband.” Welcoming the judgement, Jagmati Sanwan, All India Democratic Women's Association national vice-president said, “If the family conditions are unsuitable, no woman would like to give birth to a child because after all, she is the one who takes care of the children for all practical purposes. We see around us that fathers often desert their families after a couple of deliveries. But children become a part and parcel of the mother's physical and emotional world. She invests much into their well being and she alone suffers. Hence, the rights of whether to give birth or not, should be with her.”

Biological need drives two opposite sex to be partner in intimate relationship.Till the act is committed it's purely based on the equal rights as Man A & Women B shows commitment to fulfill their instantaneous needs. But in certain cases this instantaneous need is a subset of long-term need of men & women to reproduce & continue the existence of mankind. What becomes interesting is the socio-economic need once the act of copulation is over? As it's the female who has to bear the responsibility to raise the child safely.Since the role played by female is substantive in comparison to the male who plays the 'additional' or secondary role in bearing the child.The right to bear the pregnancy of women far outweighs the right of men. Essentially,the judgement includes the psychological part involved in the pregnancy which is a welcome & progressive step.

from:  devesh kumaraswamy
Posted on: Feb 29, 2012 at 13:58 IST

A very sex and women positive decision. Every woman should have the
choice to be in complete control of her body. Men have been in control
of women's bodies and their lives for way to long and this just sends
the right message to women in India and all over the world. For all the
men who oppose this, you really have no right to do so.

from:  Jennifer
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 21:45 IST

@folks who oppose this decision,
consent to physical intimacy can be (and most of the time is
actually) got by force, threat, fear (of getting battered brutally if
not compliant). It is much easier for the man to go ahead without
sparing half a thought about how to sustain the kids. And they are
not "fruits of love between husband and wife" as you claim.
So, this act has to prevail. Kudos.

from:  Sara C
Posted on: Feb 23, 2012 at 11:56 IST

I do not see any thing very special or extraordinary in this judgement for jubilation.This cannot be viewed as a step forward for woman's equality or advancement or REAL empowerment.In certain families this judgement may become a ground for rift n split.A fair view accepted in the society is that AS LONG AS THE MARRIAGE SUBSISTS the right to terminate pregnancy should not rest singlely with either partner, husband or wife but it should be their JOINT DECISION.

from:  DN SHARMA
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 20:12 IST

The judgment lacks human emotions, human sensibilities and respect for humanity. How can you equate giving birth to a child to manufacturing a product in the production line, as if the woman is the production line, baby is the finished product, and man’s sperm is the basic raw material? If a finished product had a manufacturing defect, we through them in the dust bin, is it acceptable to the humanity to throw the child to dustbin if the child has a disability? Children are the fruits of intimate relationship and love between a husband and wife, both of them responsible for that. They may wait for appropriate time for a child, for reasons of economy or others, but if conceived either willingly or accidentally, it is nobody’s right to abort the child. Born or unborn, the child has right to live, with dignity, love and care from the day it conceived to exist.

from:  P Sahayaraj
Posted on: Feb 22, 2012 at 14:25 IST

Justice Jitendra Chouhan's above judgment is yet another feather in our Nation's Judiciary. Only GOD and "Mother God" are the powers to decide a child's birth.

from:  V.Shanmuganathan
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 19:54 IST

Courts in India,especially the higher judiciary, are turning angels of God through many of their recent judgements. They are the main hope of billion strong(weak!)Indians

from:  N.Chandrasekaran
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 18:05 IST

Great step forward and kudos to the judiciary again.

Does everyone see the pattern that in the last 2-3 years most of the best rulings and verdicts (resulting in establish a law or enforcing a law) has come from Judiciary. This makes me question then what does the government do, as these should be primarily government job to do.

Inefficient, inactive and out of touch government is what we have.

from:  sriram
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 17:54 IST

This decision certainly enhances the belief in judiciary.

from:  Naresh
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 15:28 IST

A sensible judgement.

from:  Mughil David
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 15:24 IST

I welcome this. Should have been followed or made a part of the law long time back. It takes no rocket science to conclude this - just plain common-sense. Anyways, better late than never.

from:  Sara C
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 14:00 IST

Hat- off to the high court decision, all States should follow suit. Women are in fact no lesser human being. They deserved equal treatment with their male counterpart in all matter. India's general mentality of considering women as property should be undone by now. Let the girls prosper with India shining.

from:  Hejang Misao
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 11:06 IST

A step towards Equality. A step towards empowerment. A step towards freedom and freethinking. A step towards justice.

Ons step by Law maker. It can be a giant leap for a Billion.

from:  Senthil
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 00:24 IST

Wonderful words.

from:  Tegan
Posted on: Feb 21, 2012 at 00:22 IST

This makes me so happy I could cry. What a victory for the women of this community!

If only the U.S. would jump on this bandwagon now instead of trying to continue to legislate against a woman's right to reproductive privacy. Bravo, India.

from:  Emma
Posted on: Feb 20, 2012 at 23:15 IST

Since when does having sex not mean you are responsible for the child
that might result? Sex = Babies even with protection sometimes. Its like
saying I want to drink alcohol but not have to loose my ability to
drive. Sex is not a biological imperative and if you are going to engage
then you should be ready to face the possibility of having a child
(mothers and fathers alike). People need to stop trying to escape taking
responsibility for their own actions.

from:  David
Posted on: Feb 20, 2012 at 23:04 IST

India still has a long way to go, but this is a good step forward.

from:  shahar
Posted on: Feb 20, 2012 at 22:52 IST

A Very welcoming decision from the honourabe high court that definitely limit the female foeticide....

from:  lakhvir sandhu
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 11:58 IST
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