Abducted when she was 14 and kept in the house of her kidnapper for over two years, a 16-year-old girl who is over 26 weeks pregnant was granted permission by the Delhi High Court to undergo an abortion if a medical board of AIIMS agrees it is safe to do so.
The Bench of Justice A K Pathak has directed AIIMS to constitute a panel of four senior doctors — three senior gynecologists and a clinical psychiatrist — to examine the girl and consider if the foetus can be aborted without endangering the girl’s life.
The bench has asked the panel to examine the minor on July 27, and terminate the pregnancy if found feasible. The court has also directed that tissue samples from the foetus be preserved in case the abortion is possible, for prosecution to use in the kidnapping and rape case.
The case was transferred to AIIMS after the report from Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital, which had conducted an examination of the girl last week, had been inconclusive regarding possible medical and emotional trauma.
The girl’s family had approached the high court last week, seeking permission to abort the pregnancy, and to conduct a “proper investigation” in the case. The plea, filed through advocate Santosh Kumar Suman, had alleged that the girl had “gone missing” while on her way to school from her Sonia Vihar residence in January 2014.
The family filed an FIR of kidnapping and sent complaints to the police commissioner and the home minister. The girl had been found by a neighbor in March this year, lying on the side of Mall Road near Delhi University in a dishevelled condition.
The plea alleged that she had been confined in a house in Wazirabad and had been sexually abused by multiple men over the past two years.
Delhi government additional standing counsel Nandita Rao also informed the court that the two men named by the girl in her complaint had been arrested on Saturday, and investigation was underway to find the other accused. Police sources said the “kidnapper” has claimed that the girl had voluntarily come to live with him and had been “married” to his nephew.
Appearing before the court, the girl said she had been “taken away” and not allowed to step outside the house. The girl also has several scars on her face and arms, which she says were a result of being cut with a knife when she failed to do housework to the satisfaction of her kidnapper’s family.
Speaking to The Indian Express, the girl’s mother said police had not conducted a medical examination when the girl had “returned”, and the pregnancy had been discovered in June when the girl complained of stomach pain.
Justice Pathak took note of the judgments issued by the Punjab and Haryana High Court and the Gujarat High Court, which had allowed medical termination of pregnancy of rape survivors even after the limit of 20 weeks prescribed under the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act.
Incidentally, the court passed its verdict just minutes after the Supreme Court allowed a Mumbai-based rape survivor to terminate an “abnormal” foetus at over 24 weeks.