A 17-year-old rape survivor from Haryana’s Nuh district has approached the Punjab and Haryana High Court seeking permission to abort her pregnancy of 23 weeks and directions to the police for protecting her and her family from life threats and harassment.
The plea filed on her behalf by her father through advocate Kamaldeep Kaur has stated that the minor was raped in July and it was only last month that she came to know about the pregnancy. The rape survivor was able to reveal the incident to the family only when her health deteriorated and a medical check-up was conducted, according to the plea.
On Thursday, the case in High Court was adjourned for January 2. Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act prescribes a 20-week limit on abortions. The courts usually constitute a medical board to examine the health status of women who want to abort the pregnancy of beyond the time limit, and then proceed further on the opinion of the panel of doctors.
The minor was 16 weeks pregnant when the ultrasound examination was performed last month and since then there was no decision on her application, moved before a medical officer in Nuh district, for termination of her pregnancy. Since the pregnancy has already crossed the limit of 20 weeks for abortion, the family had to approach the High Court for the necessary order.
“If the permission of the (termination of) pregnancy is not granted, then the petitioner and her daughter will suffer an irreparable loss and cannot live in the locality independently, because she is unmarried and was raped…,” the plea reads. A case under Section 506, 120-B IPC, provisions of POCSO Act and Arms Act was registered against three persons, including a woman, in the matter on November 11. As per the family’s complaint, the rape was committed by the men of the same village where they reside.
Though in many case the pleas for abortion are turned down by the courts either for being beyond the time limit or on the basis of the medical report advising against it, the High Court in a similar case in October had allowed termination of a minor rape survivor’s pregnancy of 26 weeks and directed the PGIMER, Chandigarh, to go ahead with procedure on the minor’s request.