Bombay HC allows minor rape victim to terminate pregnancy

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed a 17-year-old rape victim to terminate her 25-week pregnancy, though a medical report had advised her against it.

A Division Bench was hearing a petition filed by the victim through her father. The girl had pain in her stomach and learnt that she was pregnant after undergoing a sonography on June 10.

At the time of filing of the petition, the girl was 23 weeks pregnant and was barred from seeking termination of pregnancy as she had crossed the 20-week ceiling under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.

She needed a nod from the court to go ahead with the termination. The petition filed by advocates Anubha Rastogi and Devyani Kulkarni, representing the minor girl, informed the court that the pregnancy has put the girl’s mental and physical health at serious risk.

On June 23, the court directed a medical board at KEM Hospital to conduct a medical examination and submit a report. On June 25, the report was submitted and it said the girl was 25 weeks and two days pregnant and advised her to continue her pregnancy with medical and psychological support.

On June 26, the court passed an order asking the medical Board to re-examine the girl and submit an additional report on whether it would be safe to terminate the pregnancy. On June 29, the Board said, “We consider it unsafe for the petitioner to undergo termination of pregnancy.”

The Bench noted that the girl had recently completed Class X from an English medium school. Though she and her father were informed about the medical board’s opinion, they expressed a desire to terminate the pregnancy in the interest of her future.

In its 20-page order, the court directed that the blood sample and tissue sample of the foetus be preserved for carrying out medical tests. “The investigating officer shall ensure that the samples are forwarded to the forensic science laboratory and preserved for the purpose of trial of the offence,” the court said.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2020 8:51:34 PM |

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