X v. The Principal Secretary, Health and Family Welfare Department, Govt. of NCT of Delhi &Anr.


This was a landmark judgment by the Supreme Court of India on the right of a woman to abortion. It stated that unmarried women are also entitled to seek abortion of pregnancy in the term of 20-24 weeks arising out of a consensual relationship. At present, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules excluded unmarried women. However, this exclusion was deemed to be unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The court stated that, “All women are entitled to safe and legal abortion.” The Court held that the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act (MTP Act) does not make a distinction between married and unmarried women. It further stated that the wives who are forced to conceive as an outcome of forced sex by their husbands, fall under the ambit of “survivors of sexual assault or rape or incest” mentioned in Rule 3B(a) of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Rules. The recognition of marital rape for the purposes of this Act, can pave the way for its criminalization in the future. 

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