Ireland preparing to ban fur farming

first_imgThe Irish government is preparing to phase out fur farming and bring an end to mink farms.Agriculture Minister Michael Creed is expected to seek Cabinet approval tomorrow to draft legislation to ban the practice.There are three mink farms in Ireland. One farm is in operation outside Glenties in Donegal, while two more are located in Kerry and Laois. The three farms rear up to 200,000 mink per year. The farming of mink has already been banned in 14 EU countries.Minister Creed is due to begin work on a plan to phase out the industry in a legal manner. At the same time, People Before Profit TD Ruth Coppinger is planning to bring her Prohibition of Fur Farming Bill before the Dáil on the 3rd of July.Deputy Coppinger said she has written to Minister Creed to discuss the ban. “I think he should support our Bill, and bring forward amendments he thinks needed. Our Bill offers an opportunity to move next week on a ban,” she said.Ireland preparing to ban fur farming was last modified: June 24th, 2019 by Rachel McLaughlinShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:bandailfur farmingminklast_img read more

Gauteng townships set for a major facelift

first_img30 July 2014The townships in South Africa’s Gauteng province are set for a major facelift, with the provincial government budgeting R4.4-billion over the next five years for building more houses, improving their quality and eradicating corruption around their allocation.“The multi-billion investment will see old townships such as Alexandra, Bekkersdal, Soweto, Evaton, Tembisa and Vosloorus being revamped within five years’ time,” Cooperative Governance, Traditional Affairs and Human Settlements MEC Jacob Mamabolo said while delivering his budget vote speech in the Gauteng Legislature in Johannesburg on Tuesday.Part of this project, Mamabolo said, would involve eradicating informal settlements while boosting of the local economy and the construction sector.Mamabolo also announced the creation of a Programme Management Office (PMO) to monitor the quality of work by housing service providers in the province.“Through this PMO, we will also conduct a full audit of all service providers to establish their performance based on sound service level agreements and contracts, monitor status of their projects, ensure quality and timeous completion of projects, and ensure that they are paid within 30 days.”Part of the budgeted amount will be used to acquire well located land, with a view to promoting social and spatial integration.Mamabolo said his department would be setting up a biometric fingerprint system in order to clean up the province’s housing data base.“This will be a major milestone in using technology to ensure that the poor masses, who have been waiting for years, finally receive their homes. Through this process no person will have more than one RDP house and we would have gone a long way to dealing with housing corruption.”Mamabolo said that Gauteng province had provided over 1-million human settlements opportunities over the last two decades through houses, units and serviced stands.Despite this, his department faced various challenges, including the peripheral location, and poor design and racial integration of state-sponsored RDP houses post-1994.“Part of de-racialising housing in South Africa is to nullify the perception that government-subsidised houses are for black people only. We have seen today that poverty knows no colour or race,” he said, urging all qualifying South Africans to apply for government subsidies irrespective of their historical background or colour.Mamabolo said his department would also be working closely with the Deeds Office to change the turnaround time and fast-track the issuance of title deeds for residents.Source: read more

Arunachal invites ideas for people’s budget, promises prizes

first_imgGive ideas for preparing a people’s budget and win prizes, the Arunachal Pradesh government has announced.The frontier State’s Chief Minister Pema Khandu and Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on Saturday launched, an interactive website that presents infographics on the budget for the 2017-18 fiscal.Mr. Khadu said the website is a first of its kind in the region, created for commoners to surf and provide ideas to make a people-friendly budget. The best three ideas will earn rewards of ₹50,000, ₹30,000 and ₹20,000, officials said.“We want to give every inhabitant of the state to participate in shaping the annual budget for the next fiscal. We want them to be part of Team Arunachal to take the state forward,” he said.The budget session of the State’s 60-member Assembly is scheduled from March 9-16.The website follows a series of pre-budget consultative meetings that Mr. Mein, also the Finance Minsiter, and Finance Commissioner Ashish Kundra had held at various forums and levels.They decided that the government will consult all community-based organisations and other stakeholders before finalising the budget to be placed in the House.“The decision was taken primarily to draft a need-based budget that caters to specific requirements of different zones of the state spread from the plains on the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border to 15,000 ft above sea level in the Eastern Himalayas,,” a finance department officer said, declining to be quoted.Mr. Khandu urged all, especially those with experience and knowledge, to submit their suggestions online through the portal and become contributors in shaping the roadmap for development of the State along with the government.last_img read more

Donkey hall ticket won’t have any impact on credibility of recruiting agency, says J&K Minister

first_imgThe Jammu and Kashmir government on April 28 played down the reported issuance of an “admit card” (hall ticket) by the Services Selection Board to a “donkey”, saying it would have no impact on the credibility of the recruiting agency.A prankster reportedly got an admit card issued by the SSB in the name of “Kachur Khar” (brown donkey) to write the examination for recruitment of naib tehsildars, scheduled for April 29.“I don’t think it (reported issuance of an admit card to a donkey) is going to dent the image of the SSB. It is a technology-driven era and the cards are computer generated,” State Education Minister Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari told reporters in Jammu.Though the admit card was deleted by the board from its system soon after it went viral, social media users had a field day over the apparent lapse by the authorities. A photograph of the admit card is being widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook. The admit card has a donkey’s photograph on it.In 2015, the Board of Professional Entrance Examinations in the State had issued an admit card to a “cow” to write an examination.last_img read more

TNT takes 3rd win, sends Phoenix crashing to 6th straight loss

first_imgRobredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PBA IMAGESTNT bounced back and humbled Phoenix, 110-103, for its third win in the PBA Governors’ Cup Friday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.The KaTropa got out of the .500 plateau and improved to 3-2 and redeemed themselves after their humiliating 104-73 loss to Rain or Shine.ADVERTISEMENT Roger Pogoy gave TNT a late buffer after his inside bank shot put the KaTropa up 107-101 with 1:46 left in before import Glen Rice Jr. secured the victory after picking off Brandon Brown’s pass with 40 ticks to go.Rice not only willed TNT to victory with his 38-point, 9-rebound, 5-assist line, he also bounced back from his subpar PBA debut.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“We went to this game with the hope of Glen playing a lot better than he played the last game, and today he did,” said TNT head coach Nash Racela.Rice struggled mightily in his debut against the Elasto Painters chucking up numerous shots and finishing on a disastrous 6-of-22 clip for 19 points. Valdez: Vietnam really prepared for us View comments Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his sidecenter_img NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaul LATEST STORIES Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss PLAY LIST 02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games MOST READ Biggest Pogo service provider padlocked for tax evasion Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’ Kelly Williams finished with 18 points to complement Rice’s scoring while Ranidel de Ocampo added 14.Pogoy and Jayson Castro also finished in double digits with 13 and 11 points, respectively for TNT.Brown lit up the Fuel Masters, who lost their sixth straight for a 2-6 record, with 49 points and 19 boards.ADVERTISEMENT Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesterslast_img read more

The great bond of union

first_imgThe third edition of Samvad – Hindu-Buddhist initiative for conflict avoidance and environmental consciousness – is being held in Ulaan Bataar, capital of Mongolia – a region and civilisation that gives rise to images of valour, of spirituality and a deep connect with India of the yore. An initiative of PM Modi and realised through the efforts of the New Delhi based Vivekananda International Foundation, over the years Samvad has emerged as one of the principal global Indic civilisational outreach platforms. It will see a convergence of scholars, thinkers, spiritual and religious masters, public intellectuals from across the world. They will gather to deliberate on the need for strengthening the Indic-Dharmic narrative and to discuss how to shape and influence, through the power of civilisational thought, philosophical wisdom and cultural outreach, the emerging neo-world order in which the Indic civilisational framework aspires to play an increasingly decisive role. Also Read – A special kind of bondIn Mongolia, the third edition of Samvad has struck a deep chord. Leaders, both political and religious, see it as a great confluence from which will emerge a refreshed civilisational partnership. Despite the many vicissitudes and challenges, Mongolians see Samvad as taking forward to the next step what PM Modi had initiated here in 2015. The Speaker of the Mongolian Parliament, the Prime Minister of Mongolia, most of the leading Buddhist monks led by the venerable Khamba Lama, head of the Gandan Monastery – the centre of Mongolian Buddhism – a most venerated figure in Mongolia, who is the co-host, are all going to be active participants in this congregation. Also Read – Insider threat managementWhy Mongolia, some have asked. The region which was once central to our Bharat has over the years receded in memory and is only now gravitating back towards centrality once more, especially after 2015 when PM Modi undertook a historic visit to the country and imparted a modern shape to our ancient connect. Iconic Kushak Bakula Rinpoche’s centenary year in 2018 and its fitting observance brought this region, its cultural and strategic importance to centre-stage once more. As I sit here next door to the branch of the Pethub Monastery in Ulaan Bataar, the thoughts of Rinpoche Bakula and his decade long tenure as India’s Ambassador in Mongolia, his great efforts in reinfusing a new vigour and energy to Buddhism in Mongolia come to mind. An unparalleled patriot – Rinpoche Bakula was unequivocal that Ladakh’s future and fate lie with India – he did more than anyone else to firmly re-establish Bharat’s presence in the region. In recent times, PM Modi rekindled that flame through his visit and outreach. But again, why Mongolia, as some have averred, that question is perhaps best answered in the words of another intellectual giant, a polymath and civilisational scholar, the likes of which India has not seen in recent times. Dr Raghuvira continues to be a venerated name in this part of the world. In that difficult era of minimal physical connectivity, his series of outreach to Mongolia, his efforts to preserve Mongolian texts and to reconnect both our countries culturally remains unparalleled in the history of modern scholarship of both the countries. Being an active politician – eighth president of the Bharatiya Jana Sangh – Dr Raghuvira never gave up on his quest for connecting and retracing India’s civilisational footprints. Why Mongolia thus is best answered in his words, “It is surprising to an extraordinary degree when one goes into the interior of Mongolia and finds a herdsman who is interested in the literary theories of Dandin’s Kavyadarsa or wants clarification of some point in Panini’s phonetics…One of the mountains in Mongolia is named Sumeru and another Vaidurya. A lake is named after Durga. Yamantaka, Mahakala, Yama and Kali are worshipped among all the Mongols. Goddess Tara is cherished by men, women and children…Stories of King Bhoja and Vikramaditya are prevalent under the name of Arji Burji, that is the form which has endeared itself to the tongues of the Mongols. Pronounced in our way, it will be Raja Bhoja. The small lyric of Kalidasa, Meghaduta has also found a place of honour in Mongolian literature; similarly, the stories of Panchatantra…” The fundamental vision of Samvad is again perhaps best described in the words of Dr Raghuvira who had penned a piece titled, “We the Pilgrim Beings”, a good seven years before independence in 1947. Referring to countries and civilisations of southeast Asia, far east and Mongolia, he observed, how, “In spite of the difference in the political control of these countries inhabited by diverse people, Indian culture still remains as the great bond of union. Political boundaries have been changing for the last 2000 years, ever since, Indian culture spread to these countries. Different dynasties have ruled over them, sometimes they have been free and sometimes dependent. But Indian culture has come down as one continuous flow…The glory of India lies in the distribution of spiritual gifts…” The rediscovery of that “great bond of union” and to re-state and re-invent it for the present geostrategic, geo-cultural context is then the deeper aim and vision of Samvad. Samvad evolved out of the vision of PM Modi. Over the years, ever since he became PM and has undertaken an extensive and unceasing world outreach at all levels, Modi has spoken of the twenty-first century as being the Asian century. He has defined and articulated a vision of the Asian century in which the civilisational southeast Asian collective, the contours of the Indo-Pacific and the shores and periphery of the Indian Ocean will play a major role. PM Modi has emphasised that in shaping and defining the Asian century, the wisdom and message of Buddha, the eternal and pragmatic truths of the Vedas and the roots of Dharmic thought will play a crucial role. India, being the land of Buddha’s birth, being the land in which the Master propounded his philosophy, being the centre from which radiated his wisdom the world over for centuries, has a special role and responsibility to generate a synergy and make an united effort towards realising the hope and dream of an Asian century. India’s civilisational wisdom of environmental consciousness, its thought on governance and statecraft, its well-evolved and recorded positions on moralities and values in the polity and in human dealings are pointers which can help evolve a credible and enduring narrative of the Asian century. India has the capacity to blend the soft and the hard power, she has the ability to evolve a smart power matrix as well. PM Modi has clearly seen and felt the need of re-stating these on the world stage, of giving these a modern context and idiom and of the need for India to retrace her civilisational footstep in the region. India’s footsteps and outreach continue to be looked upon as a benign touch, a touch that aspires to partner, to celebrate local diversities and uniqueness, that strives to strengthen bonds of partnership and camaraderie. A sense of hegemony, an imposed uniformity, a rough and violent approach is entirely absent in India’s outreach. PM Modi had commissioned a grand Buddha murti as well as the construction of the Battsagaan Grand Assembly Hall in the Gandan Monastery, both of which will be consecrated in the morning of September 6. In his vision, these new infusions will stand as symbols of a new beginning. The golden Buddha murti, designed by the legendary sculptor Ram Sutaar, has been installed in the Grand Assembly Hall overlooking the mesmerising Bogd Khan mountain range that encircles Ulaan Bataar. It has a magical look, Buddha’s look of Karuna – compassion is piercing as well as engulfing. “This is a statue, a look, which the people of Mongolia have not seen in ages, it has generated a wave among the people here…”, an elderly monk whispered, when I stood to gaze at it. Samvad aims to kindle such emotions in its quest to realise the Asian Century. (The author is Director, Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more

Malala Yousafzai Makes Donation For Reconstruction Of Gaza Schools

first_imgAs the United Nations ramps up its reconstruction efforts of war-ravaged Gaza, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Malala Yousafzai has announced a contribution of $50,000 to help with the rebuilding of UN schools heavily damaged during the recent fighting in the enclave.According to a news statement released by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Ms. Yousafzai made the announcement as she accepted the prestigious World Children’s Prize in Stockholm, Sweden, commending UNRWA’s “heroic work” in helping the Palestinian children and noting that the needs in the Palestinian territory were “overwhelming.”“I am honored to announce all my World’s Children’s Prize money will go to help students and schools in an especially difficult place – in Gaza,” said Malala. “I am donating these funds to The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which is performing heroic work to serve children in Gaza, in very difficult circumstances.“The needs are overwhelming – more than half of Gaza’s population is under 18 years of age. They want and deserve quality education, hope and real opportunities to build a future.“This funding will help rebuild the 65 schools damaged during the recent conflict. Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long. We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace. Let us stand together for peace and education because together we are more powerful.”The Nobel Laureate noted that the $50,000 donation would help towards the rebuilding of the 65 schools damaged during the recent 51-day conflict which saw entire neighbourhoods flattened and almost one-third of Gaza’s population uprooted.The violence killed more than 2,100 Palestinians, including more than 500 children, and more than 70 Israelis.UNRWA Commissioner General Pierre Krähenbühl commended the donation, saying the UN was “deeply touched” by the gesture and that it would “lift the spirits” of a quarter of a million UNRWA students and “boost the morale” of the more than 9,000 teaching staff there. In addition, he praised Ms. Yousafzai for her personal courage and her role as “a symbol of the boundless potential that lies within each and every child on Earth.”“UNRWA shares with you the profound belief in the importance of education as a means to lift young girls and boys out of isolation, exclusion or oppression,” Mr. Krähenbühl continued.“Acquiring skills and knowledge to improve prospects for the future is profoundly engrained in the Palestinian consciousness.”Following the devastation wrought by the conflict, UNRWA announced it is providing food, water and sanitation services to over 40,000 displaced people in 18 of its installations, psycho-social support particularly for children, cash grants to the homeless for rent, as well as urgent repairs to a total of 118 UNRWA installations.Source:United Nationslast_img read more

Joe Biden Honored At The 2017 National Committee On American Foreign Policy

first_imgThe National Committee on American Foreign Policy 2017 Dinner Gala was held on Monday, October 30th 2017 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City.2017 National Committee on American Foreign Policy honorees David M. Rubenstein and Joe BidenThe annual event was hosted by Charlie Rose, Co-Anchor of “CBS This Morning,” Correspondent for “60 Minutes” & Anchor of “Charlie Rose.”The NCAFP honored:· Joseph R. Biden, Jr. – 47th Vice President of the United States. Recipient of the Morgenthau Award.· David M. Rubenstein – Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group. Recipient of the Global Business Leadership Award.VIP attendees included: Charlie Rose, Co-Anchor of CBS This Morning, Correspondent for 60 Minutes & Anchor of Charlie Rose, Host/Emcee of the Gala; Joseph R. Biden, Jr., 47th Vice President of the United States. 2017 Honoree; David M. Rubenstein, Co-founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer, The Carlyle Group, 2017 Honoree; Paul A. Volcker, Former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Honorary Co-Chairman of NCAFP Gala; Ambassador (ret.) Rosemary A. DiCarlo, President of the National Committee on American Foreign Policy; Ronald S. Lauder, International philanthropist, investor, art collector, President of the World Jewish Congress; Antony Blinken, former Deputy Secretary of State; Donald S. Rice, Senior Vice President, NCAFP; Richard R. Howe, Executive Vice President and Treasurer, NCAFP; William Rhodes, former vice chair of Citibank; Andy Stone, Petra Capital Management; Daniel Rose, Chairman, Rose Associates; Dr. George D. Schwab, President Emeritus of the NCAFP; Ambassador Reiichiro Takahashi, Consulate-General of Japan; Ambassador Kim Gheewhan, Council General of the Republic of Korea; Donald Blinken, Former U.S. Ambassador to Hungary, NCAFP Trustee; Matthew Nimetz, NCAFP Trustee; Jeff Shafer, NCAFP Trustee; Ambassador Winston Lord, United States diplomat, and leader of non-governmental foreign policy organizations, and Mrs. Bette Bao Lord; Paul Young, International Head of Capital Markets, Mitsubishi UFJ Securities; Ambassador Frank Wisner, Businessman and former diplomat, and Mrs. Frank Wisner; Warren Hoge, New York Times Journalist; Olivia Hoge, Global Real Estate Advisor, Associate Broker; Florence Fabricant, Food critic for The New York Times; Marjorie B. Tiven, Founder of Global Cities, Inc.; Ciaran Madden, Consul General of Ireland; Bernard Schwartz, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Loral Space & Communications for 34 years, Chairman and CEO of K&F Industries, Inc., and president and CEO of Globalstar Telecommunications; Lally Weymouth, American journalist, serves as senior associate editor of the Washington Post; Maurice Sonnenberg, Senior American intelligence and financial advisor; Jim Zelter, Managing Director of Apollo’s credit business, and CEO and director of Apollo Investment Corporation; Carol Bellamy, Chair of the Board of the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund. Previously, director of the Peace Corps, Executive Director of the United Nations Children’s Fund, and President and CEO of World Learning; and Laurence Ackman, Chairman Emeritus and President of Ackman-Ziff Real Estate Group LLC; Stephen Dizard, Managing Partner of Wood Capital Partners LLC; Co-Chairman of Asia Exploration and Mining LLC; Michelle Caruso-Cabrera, Business news reporter for CNBC television, and currently holds the title of Chief International Correspondent; and Enzo Viscusi, Chairman of the Eni affiliate Eni Petroleum Company, Inc. and Director of Eni USA R&M Co. Inc.The National Committee on American Foreign Policy (NCAFP) was founded in 1974 by Professor Hans J. Morgenthau and others. It is a nonprofit policy organization dedicated to the resolution of conflicts that threaten U.S. interests. Toward that end, the NCAFP identifies, articulates, and helps advance American foreign policy interests from a nonpartisan perspective within the framework of political realism.For more information about The National Committee on American Foreign Policy, click here.last_img read more

Will stick to fiscal prudence lower tax rates if elected Jaitley

first_imgNew Delhi: Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Thursday said the BJP-led NDA will continue with fiscal prudence and lower tax rates if elected back to power. He further said the GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council has cut tax rates on consumption items to 12 or 18 per cent from the highest slab of 28 per cent and lowering rate on cement is next on agenda. “I speak in terms of taxation policies… I’m quite clear in my mind that on two issues at least we had – a lot of good fiscal prudence and we brought the rates down, these are two areas, if we are in power we will continue the same glide path,” Jaitley said while addressing the CII AGM here. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalThe general elections will be held in phases beginning April 11 and counting of votes will take place on May 23. Jaitley said India’s growth has stabilised between 7-7.5 per cent and irrespective of global trends, domestic consumption is going to increase. “We have come to 7-7.5 per cent (growth rate) range despite the fact that there is no global boom or support of any kind, and we have stabilised at that, you need to graduate further,” he added. The Reserve Bank of India Thursday cut its GDP growth forecast for the current fiscal by 20 basis points (bps) to 7.2 per cent. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe minister said that over the last 5 years the government did not increase tax rates, and in some cases doubled tax base and increased tax collection. “In the last 20 odd months of the GST except for Cement that is because of affordability, … every item of consumption has come down to 18 per cent and 12 per cent category from 28 per cent. So, it is only a matter of time that the last one also comes down,” Jaitley said. Asked what steps would be taken if the government comes to power, Jaitley said, “Wait for a couple of days, when our manifesto comes out, you may find some of the views expressed in that”. The government had revised upwards the fiscal deficit target for 2018-19 fiscal to 3.4 per cent from 3.3 per cent projected in the budget. For current fiscal, which begun on April 1, the fiscal deficit target has been set at 3.4 per cent.last_img read more

Make it womenfriendly

first_imgIn a significant decision, the Bombay High Court has clarified the law on abortion in India. It is legal. Every woman has a fundamental right to her sexual and reproductive autonomy and choose whether to retain her pregnancy or not. But this is not an absolute right, and is subject to certain exceptions in law, as prescribed in The Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971 (MTP Act) which seeks to provide for the termination of certain pregnancies by registered medical practitioners. Section 3 of the Act provides that a registered medical practitioner can terminate a pregnancy up to 12 weeks, or two registered medical practitioners can terminate a pregnancy up to 20 weeks if they are of the opinion that continued pregnancy would involve a risk to the pregnant woman’s life or cause grave injury to her physical or mental health, or there exists a substantial risk to the child’s health. The MTP Act further allows termination of pregnancy beyond twenty weeks, if the doctor opines that such termination is immediately necessary to save the woman’s life. However, doctors are highly reluctant to conduct abortions beyond 20 weeks without court approval. In most cases, women seeking abortion after 20 weeks have to approach the High Courts or the Supreme Court, who then set up a medical board consisting of a panel of doctors to decide whether abortion could be allowed or not. In Ms. Z v. State of Bihar (2018), a woman was raped in a shelter home, and her request for abortion in 17 weeks was not allowed by the hospital. When she approached the High Court, she was again denied, which was overturned by the Supreme Court. However, she was already 26 weeks’ pregnant by the time her matter was heard in the Apex Court, and she was not allowed to abort. The Supreme Court held that “the duty cast on the authorities under the Medical Termination Pregnancy Act, 1971 is not dutifully performed, and the failure has ultimately given rise to a catastrophe, a prolonged torment”. In the present case, referring to various High Courts and Supreme Court decisions, the Bombay High Court gave certain interim directions for the implementation of the MTP Act. The High Court categorically held that a registered medical practitioner is entitled to terminate a pregnancy beyond 20 weeks if she is of the opinion that such termination is necessary to save the life of a pregnant woman. But if she opines that there is no immediate danger to the life of pregnant woman, then she is not entitled to terminate the pregnancy beyond 20 weeks without court’s approval, even if such pregnancy may cause grave physical or mental harm or there is a substantial risk to the child. In the latter case, the pregnant woman has to approach the High Court directly to seek permission for termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. The Court further directed the State to set up medical boards in each district in order to examine pregnant women and assess the feasibility of termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks. It is argued that though the High Court attempted to clear the confusion regarding termination of pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, by doing so, it has made the law on abortion more difficult for women in India. As noted before, the issue of termination of pregnancy exceeding 20 weeks is a vexed one plaguing the courts for the last many years. The High Court’s distinction between cases with an immediate risk to woman’s life, and those where the same risk is not there, but there’s a substantial risk to her physical/mental health or to the child is a flawed one. The High Court failed to take note that while there may not be an immediate risk to her life, to force her to approach the Courts which would then take their own time to set up a medical board to assess pregnancy would cause irreparable damage to her physical/mental health, especially if there is a delay in adjudicating the matter, like what happened in Ms. Z v. State of Bihar. In many cases, by the time the Supreme Court or the High Courts allowed the termination of pregnancy, several weeks had passed, thereby making it impossible to conduct the termination, and forcing women to bear unwanted pregnancy. It is an irony that a law like MTP that primarily pertains to women’s bodies has not been enacted from women’s rights perspective, but to exempt medical doctors from penalty vis-à-vis offences in the IPC regarding causing miscarriage and causing fetal death. Despite referring to women’s rights to privacy, dignity and autonomy enshrined in Article 21 of the Constitution, the Bombay High Court failed to make the women’s reproductive autonomy central to the interpretation of the MTP Act. If a pregnant woman seeks to terminate her pregnancy beyond 20 weeks, then her physical/mental health should be of main concern, even if there is no immediate risk to her life. To compel her to get involved in complex bureaucratic procedures of court approval, which includes examination by a medical board, is an affront to her sexual and reproductive autonomy. It is hoped that this rigidity of interpretation is relaxed in the future, and a truly progressive regime on abortion is ushered in this country soon. (The author is an Attorney. The views expressed are strictly personal)last_img read more