The Supreme Court has extended the benefits of the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act to minors who engage in consensual sexual activity by exempting doctors from disclosing their identity to the local police.

In a landmark verdict, the top court included unmarried women for abortion between 20-24 weeks of pregnancy under the MTP Act, saying limiting the provision to cover only married women will render it discriminatory and violative of Article 14.

It has also held that the meaning of the words “sexual assault” or “rape” under the rules of the MTP Act includes a husband’s act of sexual assault or rape committed on his wife.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud, A S Bopanna and J B Pardiwala said to ensure that the benefit of Rule 3B(b) is extended to all women aged below 18 who engage in consensual sexual activity, it is necessary to harmoniously read both the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act and the MTP Act.

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