Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday allowed termination of 26-weeks pregnancy of a minor rape survivor and asked the Medical Board of Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) Chandigarh to fix an earliest possible date for the procedure.
The father of the 16-year-old had earlier approached the High Court seeking directions to the Chief Medical Officer of the Civil Hospital Barnala to terminate the pregnancy of her minor daughter. Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain on October 6 had sought the opinion of a panel of doctors that whether the termination is safe.
The doctors’ panel of the Barnala hospital in their report had said the maximum gestational limit for Medical termination of pregnancy under law is 20 weeks and keeping in view that age of the patient is less than 18 year and she is in advanced gestational age of 25-26 weeks, “the opinion regarding termination of pregnancy…may kindly be sought from tertiary level Teaching Health Institution.”
High Court after the report, had asked the PGIMER Director to constitute a Medical Board to examine the patient and report whether the termination is viable at this stage, keeping in view her physical and mental health. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prescribes a 20-week limit on abortions and there have been many cases in the past where Courts have declined the permission to pregnant women in view of the provisions of the law.
The medical board of the PGIMER in their report after examination of the rape survivor informed the High Court that, “Keeping in view her physical and mental health, the medical board is of considered opinion that the termination of pregnancy of X at this stage can be undertaken. However, ‘X’ and her relatives must understand the risks involved with the procedure that she has to undergo.”
Justice Sudip Ahluwalia on Tuesday in the final order of the case said, “In the given circumstances and after considering the submission made on behalf of the petitioner, his prayer for medical termination of pregnancy of ‘X’ is allowed. The necessary procedure may be carried out in PGIMER, Chandigarh itself subject to giving appropriate undertakings by the petitioner/his family members/X in view of the notings made by the Medical Board.”