The Supreme Court Monday asked the state-run J J hospital to form an expert panel to give an opinion on whether a 13-year-old rape victim could terminate her pregnancy safely in the 30th week of gestation. The apex court has fixed Thursday as the next date to hear the matter. “We have not yet received official notification from the court to form a panel. It will be formed as soon as the order comes. Usually, such panels have three or five members,” said Dr T P Lahane, dean at J J hospital. The panel will include a gynaecologist, a radiologist and a psychiatrist to medically test whether abortion would be safe for the minor.
“She has already reached an advanced stage of pregnancy. In such cases, permission to abort is usually denied. In a recent case, a Chandigarh-based girl was denied abortion after she crossed 30 weeks of pregnancy,” said gynaecologist Dr Nikhil Datar.
According to lawyer Sneha Mukherjee, who filed the petition on behalf of the 13-year-old, medical documents detailing her case have been submitted to the court. “We have two other cases where abortion under Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act has been asked for,” Mukherjee said, adding that the Supreme Court will take a decision on the plea after studying the J J hospital report.
According to the police, the minor was sexually assaulted by her father’s business partner six months ago. In August, her parents took her to a doctor to check whether her sudden obesity was caused by thyroid, when sonography showed she was 27-weeks pregnant. Police officers said till then, she had not informed her parents about the assault. On August 9, the girl’s parents registered a complaint with Charkop police. The 23-year-old accused remains under arrest.