03/07/2007, 00.00
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Mumbai judges: the foetus is a human being

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Maharashtra State Commission recognises the case of a woman claiming compensation from her husband’s insurance company for her unborn grandchild, victim of a car accident

Mumbai (AsiaNews) –  In a  landmark judgment a consumer court of the western Maharashtra state has recognised the  unborn child as a consumer and thus entitled to the same insurance coverage of any normal consumer.


The judges made the decision in favour of the plaintiff in the case of Kanta Mohanlal Kotecha v/s Branch Manager, United India Insurance. The former is widow of Mohanlal, who had taken a comprehensive insurance policy with the multinational before his death.  


Kanta, the policy beneficiary, brought the case against the insurance company, who had agreed to pay the stipulated sum for the death of her husband, her son and his wife – who was seven months pregnant at the time – but not that of the unborn child.  


Before its arrival at the Commission the case had been heard by Yavatmal district judges, who pronounced themselves in favour of the insurance company.  However Kanta, out of respect for her unborn grandchild, decided to continue her legal battle.   


Once called into consider her appeal, the Maharashtra State Commission declared its intention to

Consider US law under the Unborn Victims of Violence Act 2004 whereby personhood was granted to a human foetus. It observed that law “is not static but an instrument of socio-economic change”.


Moreover the state judges decided to take on as a legal parameter the scientific belief that during the second trimester of pregnancy from the 13th to the 27th week, the embryo turns into a foetus and attains a recognisable human form.


Hence in the case in point, the commission established that unborn child in the womb was living and therefore is considered a victim and the family entitled to compensation.  


For Dr. Pascoal, Member Mumbai, Diocesan Human Life Committee, “This landmark ruling is to be hail as a defence of life as it has recognised the value of human life whilst still in the womb of the mother and this is a great victory for life”.

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