A woman may have physical and mental exhaustion after experiencing pregnancy loss (also known as a miscarriage), especially if it was brought on by another person or people. In such circumstances, the lady may desire to bring legal action against the person or people who caused her miscarriage. Unquestionably, such individuals might face penalties under the Indian Penal Code. However, it’s crucial to make an informed choice when deciding whether to file a criminal complaint in this circumstance. This essay has been intended to assist you in doing that. If the miscarriage was not intentionally brought on to save the woman’s life, the offender faces up to three years in prison, a fine, or both if the woman is quick to give birth, and up to seven years in prison and a fine if she is not. If the woman is quick to give birth, the offender faces up to seven years in prison and a fine. First and foremost, you should be aware that according to the Indian Penal Code, it is illegal to cause a pregnant lady to miscarry (IPC). This offence is covered by IPC Sections 312 to 314. The expression “lady with kid” is used in several passages, too. In this post, I’ve used the term “pregnant lady” to make it clearer as “woman with kid” simply refers to a pregnant woman.
When is it illegal to “cause the miscarriage of a pregnant woman”?
The following conditions must be met for a miscarriage to be considered illegal:
1-it must be intentionally (willingly) caused and not the product of an accident or other catastrophe.
For instance, giving drugs to a pregnant person and causing her to miscarry.
2-There was no good faith behind the miscarriage (e. there was no thought of saving the life of the pregnant woman while causing the miscarriage).
3-The expecting mother did not agree to the miscarriage.
For example, when a pregnant woman goes to the doctor for a routine checkup, the doctor puts a needle into the woman’s abdomen (as part of some test), which causes a septic infection and subsequently a miscarriage. In this scenario, the woman just went to the doctor for the test and not to discuss the possibility of a miscarriage. But in the end, she lost the baby due to miscarriage. The woman may want to think about complaining to the IPC under Section 313 in this situation.
Another possibility exists. The expecting mother herself may agree to the miscarriage’s induction. You might wonder why a pregnant lady would act in that way. However, it is conceivable. To get rid of the unborn female child, for instance, a pregnant lady can consent to miscarrying. In that scenario, both the mother and the doctor who caused the miscarriage would face penalties under Section 312. A lady may occasionally give her permission for the miscarriage because of need. The lady is typically not penalized in these situations. For instance, if a few people abuse or assault a pregnant lady, causing such serious harm that the woman, against her will, consents to a miscarriage, the woman is unlikely to face punishment.
In conclusion, anytime a pregnant woman has a miscarriage that was produced by another person, one of two situations is likely to occur:
(a) the woman consented to the producing of the miscarriage, and
(b) the woman did not consent to the same. In the first instance, Section 312 of the IPC would apply, and in the second, Section 313. In addition to the aforementioned options, there is another one.
A pregnant woman may willingly cause her own miscarriage if the pregnancy poses a serious risk to her bodily and emotional well-being. Such a miscarriage, however, would be illegal under the IPC (Section 312) since it was not brought about to save the life of the expectant mother. Actually, both the expecting mother and the doctor may face sanctions in the event of this kind of loss. The pregnant lady in this circumstance may think about submitting an application under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act of 1971 (MTP Act, 1971). This Act permits the termination of pregnancies where there is a serious risk to the mother’s bodily or mental health.
What is the crime’s punishment?
1-If the pregnant woman gave consent to the miscarriage, she faces up to three years in prison, a fine, or both, OR up to seven years in prison and a fine if she is further along in her pregnancy—a stage known under the IPC as “woman being quick with child”—if the miscarriage was caused with her knowledge.
2-If the pregnant lady did not consent to the miscarriage, the pregnant woman might face a life sentence in jail OR a sentence that could last up to 10 years in prison and a fine.
CASE LAWS RELATING TO SECTION 312 OF IPC
In the case of Akhil Kumar v. State of MP, a lady who had an unnatural pregnancy for 24 weeks was given an injection to end it, but the next day she passed away without experiencing a miscarriage. According to section 511 of the act and section 312 of the act, the doctor is deemed to have intentionally caused a miscarriage because it is assumed that he is aware of the potential side effects of the medication.
In the case of Moidenkutty v. Kunhikoya, a comparison of Sections 312 and 313 is made, showing that the punishment under Section 312 is for a shorter period of time than under Section 313 and that in Section 312 the woman herself is also subject to punishment in addition to the person who caused the miscarriage.
A woman has the right to her body, yet inflicting miscarriage on her is a very serious offence against the unborn children. Therefore, there are many intricate relationships between a woman’s right to an abortion and the unborn child’s right to life. As a result, both situations’ conditions and circumstances are attempted to stabilize by the law in both cases. The act of inducing an abortion or miscarriage, as defined by sections 312, 313, and 314 of the Indian Penal Code, is illegal as of the time of enactment. There are different penalties for each type of miscarriage, including those that are performed with or without the woman’s consent and those that result in death. However, the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, which established standards and conditions under which women might exercise their legal right to an abortion, was passed into law in 1971 as a result of the rising desire among women to end their pregnancies in specific circumstances. Women can choose to end their pregnancies, but having a good reason is absolutely necessary in order to bring about stability reasons for ending the pregnancy, including avoiding IPC-related criminal culpability.
“IPC Section 312. Causing Miscarriage” (Latest Laws) <https://www.latestlaws.com/bare-acts/central-acts-rules/ipc-section-312-causing-miscarriage/> accessed November 3, 2022
“IPC 312 |Causing Miscarriage| 312 Indian Penal Code 1860” (IPC 312 |Causing miscarriage| 312 Indian Penal Code 1860) <https://www.aaptaxlaw.com/IPC/section-312-ipc-causing-miscarriage-sec-312-indian-penal-code-1860.html> accessed November 3, 2022
The 1860 Indian Penal Code (Act 45 of 1860).
The Indian Penal Code, Ratanlal and Dhirajlal (Lexis Nexis, Gurgaon, 36th edn. 2019).
Criminal Law, PSA Pillai’s (Lexis Nexis, Gurgaon, 12th edn. 2016).
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