In 2005, a male lawyer filed a writ petition challenging number 28 B (1) of the Chapter on Homicide of the Muluki Ain (the Country Code) that allows women to seek legal and safe abortion up to 12 weeks of pregnancy solely on their voluntary consent. The petition claimed that the lack of requirement for spousal consent in the law on abortion ignores men’s rights; is against principles of gender justice; and is in contradiction with Article 16(1)(e) of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Convention), which guarantees equal rights of men and women in matters relating to family relations and number and spacing of their children, and thus should be declared null and void.

In the process of decriminalization of abortion in Nepal in 2002, the provision of “spousal consent requirement” was debated amongst the Nepal’s women rights group and was then rejected. However, the petition attempted to overturn the country’s abortion law, which allows women to seek safe and legal abortion up to 12 weeks on their voluntary consent. By dismissing the case, Nepal’s Supreme Court reaffirmed abortion as women’s reproductive choice and overturned the barriers that a provision on spousal consent requirement could create in Nepali women’s access to safe and legal abortion services.